Volunteer Voices: Getting to Know Oakland Volunteer Christine Leinbach

Oakland Cemetery relies on the incredible energy, dedication, and generosity of over 200 volunteers. Working in the gardens, giving tours, staffing the Visitors Center & Museum Shop, or giving countless hours at special and private events, Oakland volunteers never fail to amaze with their passion and commitment. Weve asked some of Oaklands volunteers to share their stories of how they became involved as Oakland volunteers and their experiences here.


Meet Christine “Chris” Leinbach

Christine Leinbach

Tell us a little bit about yourself and you came to be involved with Oakland.
Not long after my husband Peter and I moved south to the Atlanta “suburb” of Buford in 2010, we joined the Atlanta History Center. We were new to this area, having moved from Reading, Pennsylvania to be nearer our then only three grandkids, who live in Cumming – we now have two more in California! We wanted to become more familiar with our new home, and thought what better way to do that than to learn its history?

It was through one of the Atlanta History Center’s “Party with The Past” events that we were introduced to Oakland Cemetery. Coming to that event was particularly exciting for us. We have always had an interest in old cemeteries. Living just north of Philadelphia for so many years, we were surrounded by early American history; not to mention Peter’s family had roots in Reading going back to the 1600s.

It wasn’t unusual in the 1970s for me to take my young children on rides around the Reading countryside, checking out old graveyards and churchyards for long lost ancestors, picnicking at the gravesites too, much as I imagine those ancestors did decades earlier! So, we eagerly anticipated partying with the past at Oakland, and it did not disappoint! That was in fall 2012 and in January 2013, we attended a volunteer orientation and the rest is, well, history.

Peter and I started out as garden volunteers. Before long (with encouragement from Mary Woodlan, the director of volunteers at that time) I became a tour guide, which allows me to share Oakland’s wonderful story with people of all walks of life and all ages. And for the last five Halloweens, it has been my great pleasure and honor to portray a resident during the Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours.

Christine in the Victorian spirit during Oakland’s Victorian Holiday event.

Why do you volunteer at Oakland?
As a transplanted “Yankee” I have learned so much and come to appreciate the rich history of my new home through the stories of the residents in this hallowed place. There are over 70,000 souls resting here and each one has a special tale. It is hard for me to choose one favorite experience as a result of my volunteering, however, I think being able to bring some of the residents’ stories back to life, even for a little while, during those last weeks in October is probably the most gratifying for me.

It is humbling to revisit these individuals and peel away some of the layers of their lives. Most moving for me is discovering that they were not really different from you or I, despite the century or more separating us their joys and heartaches, successes and tragedies, dreams and disappointments actually mirror our own. I have a passion to keep those stories alive and remind visitors that the folks buried here are not just names on stones; at one time they were vital individuals. Peter and I can’t imagine not being part of Oakland nor missing out on coming to know the great people, our fellow volunteers and the staff here, who we now call special friends. This is truly our family of “creation.”

Christine during Capturing the Spirit of Oakland

What else should we know about you?
I retired before moving here. I was an activities/art therapist in a psych unit at a major hospital in Pennsylvania. My specialty was geriatrics, using art primarily to calm and help individuals with acute dementia related issues. I continue to use my art background now, painting mostly. My subject matter revolves around my grandkids, dogs and especially the beautiful grounds and gardens at Oakland. My husband Peter and I enjoy spending time gardening (at home and at Oakland!) as well as being with our grandkids on both coasts and relaxing with our three sweet dogs.


If you are interested in volunteering at Historic Oakland Cemetery, want to be considered for our January 2018 new volunteer orientation, or want to know more about what our volunteers do, please click here to learn more about HOF’s volunteer needs and submit an application.   

Historic Oakland Cemetery focuses on African American Grounds restoration on Georgia Gives Day

Deborah Strahorn portrays Myra Miller at Capturing the Spirit of Oakland 2017

On Tuesday, Nov. 28 Historic Oakland Foundation (HOF) joins non-profit organizations across the state for Georgia Gives Day. On this statewide day of online giving, HOF has a goal to raise $5,000 in support of its ongoing restoration project in the African American Grounds.

The 3.5-acre area in Oakland Cemetery has not undergone a large-scale restoration in more than 100 years. HOF requires approximately $400,000 to fully restore the area, which will undergo both hardscape and landscape repairs. To date HOF has received generous gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations including Georgia-Pacific Foundation and Georgia Power Foundation, Inc.

The African American Grounds restoration project began this January, six months after HOF completed a ground-penetrating radar survey of the area. Historically, African American burial traditions utilized natural markers like wood, shrubbery, or flowers, which have been lost through the passage of time. Therefore, much of this section of Oakland Cemetery is bereft of headstones or other visual markers.

To determine what lies beneath, HOF partnered with Atlanta-based remote sensing firm Bigman Geophysical for a technologically-advanced survey of the American Grounds. That survey found nearly 900 probable unmarked burials in the area.

During the recent Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours – held over two weekends in October – HOF raised more than $9,000 for the African American Grounds, thanks to attendees who donated after hearing the story of Oakland resident Myra Miller.

Born a slave in 1811, Miller was among the 10 residents featured on this year’s tours. Miller and her husband moved to Atlanta in the mid-1870s, and she established herself as one of the city’s finest and most sought-after bakers. Miller owned and operated a bakery in downtown Atlanta, and wedding cakes were her specialty.

Capturing the Spirit of Oakland is HOF’s largest annual fundraiser, bringing more than 7,000 visitors through the cemetery’s gates over seven nights. This year’s donations for the African American Grounds broke HOF records.

In 2016 Capturing the Spirit of Oakland attendees donated more than $7,500 to the African American Grounds. The tours featuredDr. Beatrice Thompson, who graduated from medical school in 1901 before setting up a practice in Athens, Ga. During her lifetime Dr. Thompson championed fellow entrepreneurs and invested in Athens’ first black-owned pharmacy.

“Supporting Oakland Cemetery on Georgia Gives Day makes it possible for us to restore and maintain this treasured area, as the families originally intended,” said HOF Executive Director David Moore. “Our Foundation works every day to keep Atlanta’s history alive through a diverse range of programming and projects, and community support is critical to our success.”

October brings festivities and family-friendly fun to Historic Oakland Cemetery

In 1976, after decades of deterioration, vandalism, and general neglect, Oakland Cemetery found a rebirth of sorts when a small group of concerned and committed Atlantans rallied to restore the cemetery to its former glory. In 1977 the organization became a federally-recognized nonprofit organization, and this October Historic Oakland Foundation celebrates that 40th anniversary with a month full of activities perfect for fall.

On Sunday, Oct. 1 Oakland Cemetery hosts the 39th annual Sunday in the Park fall festival. This year’s Sunday in the Park will be free and open to the public, as HOF’s way of saying thanks to the thousands who have supported Oakland Cemetery over the last four decades.

“The past 40 years have been phenomenal for Oakland Cemetery. This is a crucial time in our organization’s growth, and we’re just as excited for what the future holds for HOF,” said David Moore, executive director of HOF. “We invite everyone to come out to Sunday in the Park, celebrate with us, learn something new, and spend a beautiful fall day in an unforgettable setting.”

During Sunday in the Park the cemetery will feature exhibits chronicling Oakland Cemetery and HOF’s evolution, as well as historical highlights for the city. The festival also includes a Victorian costume contest, living history demonstrations, live performances, kid’s crafts, an artist market, and much more. Sunday in the Park opens at noon and continues through 6 p.m.

Support HOF’s 40 in 40 campaign at Sunday in the Park!

Sunday in the Park caps off HOF’s 40 in 40 campaign, which began Aug. 23 and seeks to raise $40,000 in 40 days in celebration of the organization’s milestone anniversary. Though free to attend Sunday in the Park, donations are welcomed and also count toward the 40 in 40 fundraising goal, which supports a range of preservation, education, and public interest projects at Oakland Cemetery.

Following Sunday in the Park, Oakland is off to the races with the 10th annual Run Like Hell 5K on Oct. 14. This year’s race features a new, faster route spanning the cemetery, Memorial Drive Greenway Project, and Georgia State Capitol. Run Like Hell is a family-friendly race and an AJC Peachtree Road Race qualifier. Run Like Hell includes a Halloween costume contest, post-race activities, and the opportunity for participants to fundraise in support of HOF’s African American Grounds restoration project. Early race registration ends on Sept. 15, and registration closes on Oct. 11. Race details and registration available at www.itsyourrace.com.

Run with Oakland on Oct. 14!

The acclaimed Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours rounds out the month, with tours held over two weekends on Oct. 20-22 and Oct. 26-29. As one of the only opportunities to visit Oakland Cemetery after dark, Capturing the Spirit resurrects the stories of Oakland residents through vivid historic reenactments. Ticket sales for Capturing the Spirit broke records this year, with all tours selling out within a week of going on sale to the general public in July.

“Everything we do at HOF drives home our mission to uphold this unique historic landmark,” said Moore. “Through educational programming, special events, public outreach, and more, we showcase Oakland Cemetery as a one-stop repository of architecture, botanical gardens, modernity, and history.”

All proceeds from Oakland Cemetery’s special events and tours benefit HOF’s mission is to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta’s oldest public burial ground and treasured historic landmark. Event and ticketing details available by clicking here.

Historic Oakland Foundation’s Halloween tours win Georgia Historical Society award

Georgia Historical Society president and CEO Dr. Todd Groce, HOF Executive Director David Moore, and HOF Director of Special Events Mary Woodlan

Georgia Historical Society president and CEO Dr. W. Todd Groce, HOF Executive Director David Moore, and HOF Director of Special Events Mary Woodlan

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) recognized Historic Oakland Foundation (HOF) with an award honoring the organization’s historic programming event, Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours.

During a private ceremony at historic Oakland Cemetery, GHS presented HOF with the Roger K. Warlick Local History Achievement Award. The awards recognize GHS affiliate chapters that demonstrate outstanding achievement in the field of public history across four categories: programs, exhibits, archival excellence, and media projects.

Offered during two weekends in October, HOF’s Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours are an Atlanta tradition and the only opportunity for visitors to experience the city’s oldest public cemetery after dark. Now in its 11th year, the tours present a rotating cast of characters who — through historical re-enactments — bring to life the stories of a few Oakland residents.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by Georgia’s premiere historic preservation institution,” said Mary Woodlan, director of special events at HOF. “We share this win with all of the staff, volunteers, attendees, sponsors, and supporters who help make Capturing the Spirit of Oakland possible.”

Volunteer LaDoris Davis portrayed Dr. Beatrice Thompson during Capturing the Spirit of Oakland.

Volunteer LaDoris Davis portrayed Dr. Beatrice Thompson during Capturing the Spirit of Oakland.

During the most recent Capturing the Spirit tours, HOF raised over $7,500 to help restore the final resting place of a trailblazing African American woman, Dr. Beatrice Thompson, and her sister Estella Henderson. Dr. Thompson graduated from medical school in 1901 before setting up a practice in Athens, Georgia — a rare accomplishment at the time for a woman, much less a woman of color. During her lifetime Dr. Thompson championed fellow entrepreneurs and invested in Athens’ first African American-owned pharmacy. Dr. Thompson’s sister is buried next to her and was similarly accomplished. Estella Henderson was a lawyer and professor at Atlanta’s Morris Brown College.

HOF saw an unprecedented outpouring of support for Dr. Thompson and Mrs. Henderson. In 2015 visitors donated over $2,400 to erect a headstone for William Jasper “The Goat Man” Franklin, and in 2013 over $2,000 was raised for madam Abbie Howard to get a headstone. Any overage not used for repairing the Thompson lot will be used to further the restoration of the African American Grounds, one of HOF’s large-scale restoration projects in 2017.

In 2015 HOF was named GHS Affiliate Chapter of the Year for its exceptional work in the field of public history. Past Warlick award recipients include: the Bulloch County Historical Society,  the Cherokee County Historical Society, and Historic Augusta, Inc.

Important Information for Run Like Hell 5K Participants

white-text-logoOakland Cemetery’s Run Like Hell 5K & Run Like Heck 1K Fun Run is this Saturday, October 15! Thank you for registering for this Peachtree Road Race Qualifier and supporting Historic Oakland Foundation. Please read the following as you prepare for Saturday morning. 

There is certainly a festive element to this event, we so encourage you to wear your favorite costume and enter the costume contest following the race!

Getting to Oakland Cemetery
Participants may arrive as early as 7:30 a.m. The Run Like Hell 5K will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the Run Like Heck 1K Fun Run will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Parking is limited at Oakland Cemetery. There is a small parking lot directly outside of the cemetery gates, at the intersection of Oakland Avenue and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. Off-street parking is also available in the surrounding Grant Park neighborhood.

We strongly encourage attendees to carpool or utilize MARTA or a car-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. King Memorial is Oakland Cemetery’s nearest MARTA station. Once out of the station, turn south on Grant Street and take a left onto Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, which leads directly to Oakland’s main gate.

Arrival
Volunteers will be posted throughout the grounds to assist you to Lion Square. Participants who did not pick up their chipped race bib and t-shirt in advance at Phidippides must check-in at tables set up at Lion Square. Check-in is according to last name, and tables will be marked A-L and M-Z. T-shirts will also be available at Lion Square. We will provide a secured area for participants to check any bags, backpacks, jackets, etc.

The Race
In advance of the race’s 9 a.m. start, 5K participants will be directed to the start line. The race route covers Oakland Cemetery’s grounds and the Grant Park neighborhood. The finish line is at Oakland Cemetery.

Children and parents participating in the Run Like Heck 1K will be directed to the Fun Run start line in advance of the race’s start at 10:30 a.m.

Post-Race Activities
Water and snacks will be available at Lion Square after the race. Please plan on staying for the awards ceremony, which will recognize:

  • 5K category winners
  • Best Costumes
    • Best Male Costume
    • Best Female Costume
    • Best Child’s Costume
    • Best Group Costume
    • Best Dog’s Costume
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May the best costume win!

Costume contest category winners will win a pair of tickets to the sold-out Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours!

Run Like Hell participants are also invited to take a complimentary tour of Oakland Cemetery. The “History, Mystery, and Mayhem” special topic tour is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the season:

With more than 70,000 souls interred in its hallowed grounds, it’s no mystery that Oakland Cemetery has it’s share of the surreal. Hear the stories that defy explanation and eerie events that have passed into local legend, from mysterious burials to deaths occurring under peculiar circumstances. Explore the final resting place of Atlantans both prominent and unknown, but united in Oakland’s rich history. While not all of the endings are happy, these stories helped shape the Atlanta that lives on today.

Stock up for Halloween at the Run Like Hell Pop-Up Shop at Lion Square

Stock up for Halloween at the Run Like Hell Pop-Up Shop at Lion Square

Additionally, select neighborhood restaurants will offer Run Like Hell participants special discounts. Show your race number for:

  • 15% off food at Mezcalito’s Cocina & Tequila Bar. Limit one per customer, must be used on Oct. 15.
  • 20% off at Ziba’s Restaurant & Wine Bar (not valid with any other promotions)

Visit the Run Like Hell Pop-Up Shop at Lion Square for one-of-a-kind finds and locally-made crafts. Show your race number for 10% off pop-up shop purchases (and Historic Oakland Foundation members receive an additional 10% discount). Click here to see what’s in store.

New date added for Oakland Cemetery’s sold-out Halloween Tours

Capturing the Spirit of Oakland breaks records in 2016.

Capturing the Spirit of Oakland breaks records in 2016.

In response to unprecedented sales for Oakland Cemetery’s Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours, Historic Oakland Foundation (HOF) has added a seventh night to its signature seasonal event.

The additional date for Capturing the Spirit will be on Oct. 30. Tickets go on sale to HOF members on Sept. 15 and to the general public on Oct. 1. The Halloween tours take place at Oakland Cemetery nightly from Oct. 21-23 and Oct. 27-30.

“Historic Oakland Foundation celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. In recognition of this milestone and in thanks to those who have supported Oakland Cemetery over the years, we’ve gone to great lengths to make an additional night of Capturing the Spirit possible — for one year only,” said Mary Woodlan, director of special events at HOF.

Capturing the Spirit of Oakland marks the only time of year that Oakland Cemetery’s gates are open to the public after dark. Costumed guides take visitors on an hourlong tour to the final resting place of a few Oakland residents, who are “brought back to life” through historical reenactments.

On July 1 HOF members received advance access to tour tickets and on the very first day of sales, 25 percent of all tickets were sold. When released to the general public two weeks later, Halloween tickets sold at an unprecedented rate. By month’s end over 50 percent of all tickets sold, and sales closed in August — a first for HOF.

“The overwhelming response to Capturing the Spirit is a testament to both the value of Foundation membership and the event’s high quality,” said Woodlan. “We hope all will take advantage of this one-time opportunity to celebrate our 40th and support Oakland Cemetery year-round.”

Capturing the Spirit of Oakland rounds out Oakland Cemetery’s fall special events season, which includes the fifth annual Fall Plant Sale on Sept. 24, Sunday in the Park fall festival on Oct. 2, and Run Like Hell 5K and Run Like Heck 1K Fun Run on Oct. 15.

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To purchase tickets as an HOF Member, click here. 

Historic Oakland Cemetery, Red Brick Brewing tap into summertime with limited-edition brew

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Tickets for Tunes from the Tombs on sale now

Historic Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta’s oldest public burial ground, has once again teamed up with Atlanta’s oldest brewery for a signature beer crafted with fruit from Oakland’s gardens. Red Brick Brewing Co.’s Berried Skull Persimmon Lager will be available for one day only at Oakland Cemetery’s sixth annual summer music festival, Tunes from the Tombs.

On Saturday, June 18, Tunes from the Tombs attendees can enjoy a cold one created with persimmons harvested from historic Oakland’s gardens. Red Brick Brewmaster Garrett Lockhart used the berry as a complement to Red Brick’s Laughing Skull Craft Lager, creating a refreshing, subtly-flavored cask ale perfect for enjoying a day of music under the sun.

Leading up to a headlining performance from Arrested Development, HeaveN Beatbox, James Hall, Adron, Rod Hamdallah, and Atlanta Funk Society perform on the MailChimp main stage. The stage at North Public Grounds features a lineup of tribute bands, including: The Return (The Beatles); The Dirty Doors (The Doors); The B-53’s (The B-52’s); Fauxgerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival); and The Clermonts, who perform covers of various classic rock and party rock hits from the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. Additionally, Atlanta Taiko Project, Sarah Wilson, the Atlanta Braves Heavy Hitters, and Zardine Glaze perform at various locations throughout the cemetery.

“We’re excited to offer fans of local music a taste of local beer unique to Oakland Cemetery,” said Mary Woodlan, director of special events at Historic Oakland Foundation. “As the city’s oldest brewery, Red Brick is the perfect partner for one of Atlanta’s treasured historic landmarks.”

Berried Skull Persimmon Lager is the third signature beer Red Brick Brewing Co. has created specially for Oakland Cemetery. For the cemetery’s Sunday in the Park Victorian street festival held in October 2015, the brewery created Rosemary’s Boneyard Brew using rosemary from Oakland’s grounds and Red Brick’s Casual Session IPA. For 2015’s Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours, Red Brick paired Laughing Skull Amber Ale with rum-soaked chips from the cemetery’s signature oak trees to create Casket Ale.

Red Brick Brewing Co. partners with Historic Oakland Cemetery for a signature brew

Red Brick Brewing Co. partners with Historic Oakland Cemetery for a signature brew

“We are thrilled to partner back up with Oakland Cemetery for Tunes from the Tombs,” said Red Brick Brewing. “We think this specialty cask of Berried Skull will be a perfect fit for the Red Brick Beer Garden during the festival.”

Red Brick’s Beer Garden at Lion Square features a corn-hole tournament, merchandise giveaways, and live drawings from local artist Jeremy “Jert” Townsend. Adjacent to Red Brick’s Beer Garden is an artist market featuring an Oakland Cemetery pop-up shop as well as works from local artisans including: Criminal Records, Eleventh House Needlework, Green End Designs, Hangover Straps, Mary Boyle Handcrafted Jewelry, Masa Sasaki Ceramics, Methane Studios, MurderCharms, Nostalgia Plaques, R. Land, Skullgarden, The Grimm-Life Collective, and works from Historic Oakland Foundation volunteers.

The festival runs from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., with gates opening at noon. All proceeds from Tunes from the Tombs benefit Historic Oakland Foundation, which works to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery.

Advance general admission tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children aged 4-12 (plus fees). Tickets at the gate are $30 for adults and $25 for kids aged 4-12. Children 3 and under are free. A special Rock In Peace (RIP) package is available in advance only and includes: access to Tunes from the Tombs hospitality area that includes complimentary food from Republic Social House and Doc Chey’s Noodle House, indoor restrooms, and air conditioning; two drink vouchers for beer, wine, or soft drinks; a Tunes from the Tombs 2016 T-shirt and poster; autographed CD from Arrested Development or frontman Speech; free parking and transportation to stage areas provided by Mezcalito’s Cantina Stage Shuttle; and access to stage-adjacent restrooms. Tickets are available online at TicketAlternative.com.

Tunes from the Tombs is sponsored by MailChimp, Red Brick Brewing Co., Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, Creative Loafing Atlanta, Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House, Doc Chey’s Noodle House, Real Living Capital City, The Republic Social House, The Little Tart Bake Shop, and Mezcalito’s Cocina and Tequila Bar.

A Fitting Tribute for the Goat Man

Volunteer Tom Deardorff (l) and HOF Executive Director David Moore along with their Capturing the Spirit of Oakland co-star, Max

Volunteer Tom Deardorff (l) and HOF Executive Director David Moore along with their Capturing the Spirit of Oakland co-star, Max

Each year during Halloween, Historic Oakland Foundation brings to life the stories of a few of its residents during the ever-popular Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween tours. Presented through vivid historical re-enactments, these tours impart the stories of Atlantans both renowned and obscure.

In October 2015, Capturing the Spirit attendees heard one particularly unique story from William Jasper “the Goat Man” Franklin. Known on the Atlanta streets for his carted companion (a goat named Pete) William sold apples and pencils for spare change that helped support his family. When the Goat Man died, his plot at Oakland Cemetery was unmarked for decades until his story was uncovered last fall.

Thanks to generous contributions from Capturing the Spirit tour-goers, HOF raised over $2,400 to have a permanent marker built for the Goat Man and his parents who lie in rest besides William. On May 14, 2016 Historic Oakland Foundation unveiled permanent markers for the Franklin family plot

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New headstone for William Jasper “the Goat Man” Franklin’s mother

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New headstone for William Jasper “the Goat Man” Franklin’s father

At the dedication ceremony, Historic Oakland Foundation Executive Director David Moore – who portrayed the Goat Man at Halloween – recounted William’s story in this touching poem:

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Max, who portrayed “Peter” at Capturing the Spirit, next to William Jasper Franklin’s new headstone

A Tribute to Our “Goat Man” William Jasper Franklin
by David Moore

There are 70,000 residents who lie beneath our feet
And each one has a story, and every one’s unique
There are governors and mayors, who make their mark on history
And ones who just plain folk, the ones like you and me

Everyone who walks this earth affects his earthly brother
Although we do not always know our effect on one another
The man who lives the simple life each and every day
Can be a source of inspiration for us along the way

And so it is with our honoree, William Jasper Franklin
Who made his mark upon our lives and now we get to thank him
Born in 1850, the son of James and Mary Ann
Brimming with youth and promise the boy became a man

But at age 19 he was afflicted with a sickness uninvited
Spread by war and soldiers, the dreaded meningitis
Undaunted James was determined to help his boy survive
So he fashioned a cart for a goat named Pete, with which his son could drive

Thus was born an Atlanta legend and now we know for sure
A familiar sight to all, our original entrepreneur
Jasper spent his days downtown upon the courthouse steps
Entertaining the high and mighty with his awesome salesmanship

“Gimme a nickel, gimme a nickel!” they often heard him say
He made a lot of money and bought Pete a lot of hay
“What good is he,” the rich men said, “He’s nothing but a pest.”
“And for that awful goat smell, he’s one we should arrest.”

Undaunted, Jasper never left his post, most Atlantans really cared
No matter how their lives would change, Jasper was always there
Selling pencils and apples with Pete, each and every day
Earning him the now so famous “Goat Man” sobriquet!

And when the Goat Man disappeared his mother was sick about it
The community rallied behind their friend, his rescue no one doubted
Like George Bailey we don’t often know the hole we leave unkind
Until we’re gone and our presence missed by those we leave behind

And so it is with William, he transcends both time and space
As Atlanta’s famous fixture I think he knew his place
But where he went that summer day in 1899
Will be his secret now and until the end of time

Everyone who walks this earth affects his earthly brother
Although we do not always know our effect on one another
For 20 years he was, as the paper said, a “landmark in this town”
Always there on the courthouse steps the Goat Man could be found

That’s something we can learn from him: what’s our place in history’s story
Do your part, and throw your seeds, never mind who gets the glory
Because at last we end up here all equal in His eyes
With loving friends and family gather round us to eulogize

To be as fortunate as Jasper to be remembered that we lived
With a visit from our friends who for our grave some flowers give
Because we made a difference in someone’s life along the way
And just like Jasper we were always there for them each and every day.

View more photos of Oakland Cemetery’s dedication ceremony and spring volunteer appreciation party by clicking here.

Halloween Spookiness in Oakland’s Museum Shop

haunted raven

Turn heads with this unique raven top hat!

The spirits are buzzing with excitement over the unique new items in for the season in the Museum Shop at Oakland Cemetery!

For fun and creepy costume accouterments perfect for Capturing the Spirit of Oakland, check out our Raven Top Hats and Haunted Headbands and other ghastly gear that would delight Edgar Allen Poe! We also have a unique selection of Halloween ornaments, a collection of eerie decor ideal for a ghostly gala, and Halloween books that will bestow those delicious chills and thrills on young and old ghouls alike. Stop in if you dare! 

skeleton casketWith new items arriving each week, our Museum Shop is an ever-changing destination for one-of-a-kind gift items, keepsakes and educational products for kids and adults alike. The Museum Shop also has a number of signature items exclusive to Oakland, like this limited edition papier mache and resin piece featuring a pair of festive pall bearers hoisting a casket with a removable lid that can hold candy or other display items.

For readers, the Museum Shop also stocks plenty of of non-fiction and fiction titles spanning a range of topics relevant to Oakland Cemetery and its many residents.

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Author Spotlight: Jana Oliver 

Atlanta native Jana Oliver is the author of the “Demon Trappers” book series. Intended for young adults and adults, these books are set in Oakland Cemetery and follow the adventures of young Riley Blackthorne as she grapples with the forces of evil in and around Atlanta while trying to live her life as a modern teen. This engaging series is full of familiar places and fast-paced excitement. Visit our Museum Shop to check out these great titles from this imaginative and award-winning local author.

For those who can’t visit Oakland Cemetery in person, our online Museum Shop is open 24 hours, 7 days a week and includes many of Oakland’s most popular items.

Oakland Cemetery, Red Brick Brewing partner for signature seasonal brew

Oakland Cemetery has partnered with Georgia's oldest brewery, Red Brick Brewing.

Oakland Cemetery has partnered with Georgia’s oldest brewery, Red Brick Brewing.

Historic Oakland Foundation kicks off Oakland Cemetery’s fall special event season with a beer created in partnership with Georgia’s oldest craft brewery, Red Brick Brewing.

Rosemary’s Boneyard Brew, a handcrafted blend of Red Brick’s Casual Session IPA and rosemary harvested from Oakland Cemetery’s grounds, will be available only at Oakland’s special events throughout October. The first casks of Rosemary’s Boneyard Brew will be tapped at Oakland’s 36th annual Sunday in the Park Victorian festival on Oct. 4.

“We welcome locals and visitors alike to experience Oakland’s fall events while responsibly enjoying a fresh take on one of Atlanta’s favorite brews,” said Mary Woodlan, HOF director of special events.

Sunday in the Park is a daylong celebration of Oakland’s Victorian garden cemetery roots, featuring live musical and dance performances, living history demonstrations, a scavenger hunt, complimentary burial research, a children’s storytelling and crafts area, a plant sale, food trucks, and much more. The event runs from noon to 6 p.m., and admission is $7 (children under 3 are free). All proceeds from Sunday in the Park benefit HOF’s mission to preserve, restore, enhance and share Oakland Cemetery.

Rosemary’s Boneyard Brew will also be available at the ever-popular Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours, Oct. 23 through Oct. 25 and Oct. 29 through Oct. 31. These nighttime guided walking tours of Oakland Cemetery bring to life the stories of six Oakland residents through historical re-enactments. Capturing the Spirit of Oakland is always a sell-out event, and tickets are available in advance only through TicketAlternative.com.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Oakland Cemetery to create this beer,” said Red Brick Brewmaster Garett Lockhart. “It only makes sense that Atlanta’s oldest operating craft brewery should partner with the city’s most historic institution.”

Sunday in the Park and Capturing the Spirit of Oakland are sponsored by Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House, Craft Creation & Design, Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, Paces Properties, Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts, H.M. Patterson & Son Spring Hill, General Wholesale Company, Doc Chey’s Noodle House, Republic Social House, and Mezcalitos Cocina & Tequila Bar.