Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Revitalizing Atlanta’s Heritage: Georgia-Pacific’s Role in Oakland Cemetery Preservation


Georgia-Pacific is collaborating with the Historic Oakland Foundation to conserve a significant part of Atlanta’s heritage, the Oakland Cemetery. The firm has donated $75,000 and products to the cemetery’s Living History Capital Campaign to assist in the construction of a new visitor center.

This center, expected to open in 2025, will not only welcome the annual 125,000 visitors but also generate a continuous source of research and revenue for the site, ensuring its maintenance and preservation for future generations. Georgia-Pacific has been a long-time supporter of the Historic Oakland Foundation, contributing to the restoration of the Historic African American Burial Grounds and the Bell Tower. These contributions reflect Georgia-Pacific’s ongoing commitment to improving the communities where its employees reside and work, and enhancing Atlanta’s livability.

In 1850, Atlanta bought six acres of land and established the Atlanta Graveyard. By 1872, it was renamed Oakland Cemetery and had expanded to 48 acres due to Civil War demands. Over time, it transformed into a beautiful Victorian-style garden and became the final resting place for many notable Atlantans. The last plots at Oakland Cemetery were sold in 1884, and by the 1930s, it had become a popular spot for carriage rides, picnics, and gatherings. However, as the city expanded, the cemetery fell into disrepair and was frequently vandalized.

In 1976, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sparking renewed interest in its preservation. Today, it is managed by the City of Atlanta Parks Department and Historic Oakland Foundation and serves as a popular venue for tours and public and private events.
Richard Harker, executive director for Oakland Cemetery, expressed gratitude for Georgia-Pacific’s support and that of all their partners. He emphasized the importance of community collaboration in preserving and enhancing this space. The goal is for Oakland Cemetery to serve as a community anchor through its transformation into a public park.

Oakland Cemetery is home to several remarkable projects. Currently lacking a visitor center, the Bell Tower built in 1899 has been serving as a gift shop, office space, and event venue after recent renovations. The new visitor center will offer much more than that. This 10,000-square-foot space will house a store, welcome center, meeting rooms, event space, educational programs, offices, a lawn and plaza, and a woodland trail.

Harker is enthusiastic about the potential of the new space. “This new area will offer versatility, allowing us to showcase the cemetery in broader ways than ever before. We aim to increase our programming, provide summer lunch programs for children, host blood donation drives, voting, and other services that benefit the local community.”

During the groundbreaking ceremony for the new center, Harker revealed plans to expand a summer workforce development program that started in 2023. This program provides Atlanta high school students with training in masonry, horticulture, and other skills that they will use to help maintain the cemetery.
To know more about Oakland Cemetery click here.