Special Topic Twilight Tours
No Reservations Required. Tours begin at the Visitors Center
Oakland’s Twilight Tours will be available on Saturdays and Sundays, March 16 through October 13, 2012; 6:30-7:30 p.m. unless noted differently below. Please check the times for Oakland’s Boys of Summer Baseball tour.
There will be no Twilight Tours on June 8 due to our Tunes From The Tombs special event, none on October 6 due to Sunday in the Park, and none on October 18,19, 26, and 27 due to our Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours.
Prices for the Twilight Tours are the same as for other guided overview tours.
Twilight Tours topics vary weekly. See Twilight Tour descriptions and schedule below.
2013 Tour Schedule
Oakland and the Civil War
Stand at the site where General Hood watched the Battle of Atlanta. Hear the story of the Great Locomotive Chase and Andrew’s Raiders. See the Lion of Atlanta as it lies wounded and dying over unknown soldiers from nearby battlefields and hospitals, and the Confederate Obelisk, at one time the tallest structure in Atlanta. This tour also explores the achievements of famous military leaders and soldiers during and after the war. Franklin Garrett, the official Atlanta historian, once said: “History has several components: the participants, the chroniclers, and the historians. All of these components reside at Oakland.”
Dates: Saturday: 4/13, 5/11, 7/13, 8/10, 9/14, 10/12.
Pioneers of Atlanta: The First 20 Years
Meet the founding sons and daughters of a town originally known as “Terminus.” Wander among the graves of the first farmers, lawyers, early mayors, and town commissioners. Hear stories of accomplishments and failures, civil strife, gunfights and interaction with other developing communities that made us a community of people, not just an economic center.
Dates: Saturday: 3/16, 4/20, 5/18, 6/15, 7/20, 9/21.
Epitaphs – The Immortality of Words
How would you like to be remembered? Victorians gave considerable thought to this concept. An epitaph is described as “a statement commemorating or epitomizing a deceased person.” Join us as we explore some of the fascinating epitaphs that grace the monuments of Oakland. Whether brief or rambling, poignant or humorous, all provide insight into the person’s life. It’s certain you’ll walk away with a favorite! Dates: Saturday: 4/27, Sunday: 3/24, 6/16, 8/25, 9/22.
Odd Fellows, Red Men, Masons and more . . . Fraternal Organizations at Oakland
Fraternal organizations in the United States were a post-Civil War phenomenon. By the late 1800’s there were literally hundreds of such organizations with an estimated 1 in 4 adults belonging to one or more. The groups were either religious (or anti), politically, socially, or professionally based. One common element could be found in all – mutual aid for the members. Many of Oakland’s residents were active Woodmen of the World, Knights of Pythias, or Hibernians, just to name a few. Join us for a fascinating look at these organizations, many still in existence today.
Dates: Saturday: 3/23, 5/25, 7/27, 9/7.
Fear and Accusation: The Leo Frank Story
In 1913 Atlanta was a city in transition socially, culturally, and politically. The Old South had crumbled less than fifty years before and the memory of the Civil War still hung heavy in the air. In fact, the Leo Frank story began that year on Confederate Memorial Day, April 26. Thirteen year old Mary Phagan planned to enjoy the festivities but her life came to a sudden, violent end that day at the National Pencil Factory. Thus began a series of events that rank with the most tragic and indelible in the history of the city. Although much of the evidence collected was questionable at best, factory superintendent, Leo Frank, was soon accused, tried, and convicted of the heinous crime. Numerous Oakland residents played key roles in the event. Lives of both the rich and the poor were forever changed. Learn the stories behind the story in this thoughtful and thought provoking tour.
Dates: Saturday: 8/24, Sunday: 3/17, 4/28, 6/23.
African American History at Oakland
Learn about the many interesting African Americans who helped shape the history of Atlanta including Mayor Maynard Jackson; Bishop Wesley John Gaines, minister and founder of Morris Brown College; Carrie Steele Logan, who established the first black orphanage in Atlanta; Antoine Graves, pioneer real estate broker; and Selena Sloan Butler, co-founder of the PTA in the United States.
Dates: Saturday: 6/29, 8/31, Sunday: 3/31, 9/29.
Love Stories of Oakland
Bring someone you love and join us for the tour that focuses on the love stories of Oakland. This one-hour trip back in time introduces you to lovers (and a few parents) who obviously expected their love to last beyond their time here on earth. It explores some of the frequent cemetery symbols of love and devotion and reveals poignant epitaphs that speak to enduring love. This journey takes you into parts of Oakland not often visited during other tours.
Dates:Saturday: 5/11 at 3 p.m. Sunday: 5/12 at 3 p.m.
Dying in Nineteenth Century Atlanta
From the log cabin the Cherokee Indians called “medicine house,” to the establishment of Atlanta Medical College, to the medical advances resulting from the Civil War, this tour traces the history of death and disease in Atlanta in the 19th century. Atlanta in the early 1800s was considered the frontier. The rough and sometimes violent lifestyle, combined with the humid climate and swampy land, all contributed to illness, injury, and death among the population. Learn about the mystery and science of death and dying during a time when the discovery of germ theory and anesthesia coexisted with the use of leeches, water cures, and medical quackery.
Dates: Saturday: 4/6, 6/1, 8/3, 10/5
Art and Architecture of Death
From ancient times people have sought to honor and perpetuate the memory of departed loved ones. In the 19th century, the development of rural, non-sectarian cemeteries like Oakland provided a setting that allowed for a diverse array of funerary tributes. Memorials reflected social status, wealth, and power. In the nineteenth century an unprecedented variety of materials and architectural styles were available. Focusing on the artistic and architectural design elements of funerary monuments, this tour explores the origin and use of popular 19th century grave markers including tombs and sarcophagi, obelisks and angels, monuments of all styles, shapes, and sizes and Oakland’s magnificent mausoleums. As a microcosm of society, Oakland Cemetery reflects how the people of Atlanta lived and died. Architectural and design choices made by Atlanta’s citizens during their lives followed them to the cemetery in the art and architecture that commemorates their deaths.
Dates: Sunday: 4/14, 5/12, 6/9, 7/14, 8/11, 9/8, 10/13.
Jewish Grounds of Oakland
This tour examines the Jewish Grounds of Oakland Cemetery and identifies patterns of assimilation and persistence which began to surface as waves of Jewish immigrants entered and adapted to the culture of Victorian America. In 1860, Atlanta was home to about 50 Jewish citizens. The Hebrew Benevolent Society purchased a burial plot within the Original Six Acres, now known as the Old Jewish Burial Grounds. It is the second oldest Jewish burial ground in Georgia. In 1892, the Hebrew Benevolent Society (The Temple) acquired yet another, much larger plot and sold one fourth of it to a newly formed synagogue, Ahavath Achim. Ahavath Achim, made up mainly of newly arrived immigrants from Russia, developed what is perhaps the most visually compelling area of Oakland, often described as “forest like” because of 7-foot markers tightly packed together. Our guides will share their knowledge of the Jewish community’s history, notable citizens, burial customs, and symbolism found throughout these grounds.
Dates: Sunday: 4/21, 5/19, 6/30, 7/28, 8/18.
Victorian Symbolism at Oakland
Victorians were fascinated by the past and borrowed symbols they learned from the archaeological digs taking place in Egypt, Greece, Israel, and Turkey. In many cases, the symbols were originally secular but were changed to religious, and could have a totally different meaning from one period to the other. Victorians believed death was very peaceful and calming. The word “cemetery” means “sleeping place” and many symbols reflect that concept. Our guides will acquaint you with the many botanical, secular, and religious symbols at Oakland and interpret their meaning.
Dates: Saturday: 3/30, 9/28, Sunday: 5/26, 7/21.
Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind
Explaining how the idea for her novel came to her, Margaret Mitchell said, “in the cradle”. She had heard so much as a child about the battles and the hard times following the Civil War, she believed, for a long time, that her parents had actually been through it. The Pulitzer Prize winning novel was first published in 1936 and sold more than a million copies in the first six months. It is reputed to be the second most read book in the world, with the Bible being number one. This tour will visit the gravesites of Margaret Mitchell and her husband, John Marsh, as well as other Mitchell family members and pioneers of Atlanta. Meet several residents Margaret Mitchell is believed to have used as a basis for characters in Gone With the Wind. While none of the characters in the novel are specifically based on real life people, she scrambled appearances and personalities of some she knew and knew of, to weave a compelling saga of a world turned upside down.
Dates: Saturday: 7/6, 8/17, Sunday 9/15
The Women of Oakland
Early Atlanta was a man’s world. The few women among them were wives of railroad workers and merchants, slaves, and others who possessed the essential skills needed in a growing frontier town: cooks, laundresses, seamstresses, and boardinghouse keepers. The advent of the Civil War and the reconstruction of Atlanta into a metropolitan center changed the fortunes of the city and dramatically altered the image and status of women. From the domain of domestic life to the province of public life, this tour challenges the myth of Southern womanhood by uncovering the true social and personal histories of Atlanta’s pioneering women.
Dates: Sunday: 4/7, 5/5, 6/2, 7/7, 8/4, 9/1.
Writers in Residence at Oakland
Oakland’s tranquil gardens provide the perfect setting for exploring the lives and works of novelists, poets, and journalists who populated early Atlanta’s literary landscape. Author of Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell; the 19th century “Poet Laureate of the South” Charles W. Hubner; Civil War Diarist Samuel Pearce Richards; and Pulitzer prize-winning journalists Julia and Julian Harris are among the many writers in residence resting at Oakland Cemetery.
Date: Saturday: 6/22.
Oakland’s Boys of Summer Baseball Tour
Imagine looking west beyond the main gates of Oakland. Look carefully and you will see a lush patch of green grass complete with a baseball diamond. Beyond the playing field is a city devastated and still emotionally smoldering from Sherman’s fires. Red flags hang from the doors of homes housing people with smallpox. It is May 12, 1866 and the city desperately needs something to celebrate. On this day the Gate City Nine and the Atlanta Baseball Club take the field to play the first baseball game in Atlanta. Join us for tour that recaptures the spirit of the day and examines the lives of several of the players taking part in that historic game.
Dates: May 27, 2:00pm, July 4, 5 & 6, 10:30am, August 30, 31 & September 1, 10:30am