Crypt of Jasper
Mausoleum of Jasper Smith features its occupant in granite, sitting in a chair above the entrance.

Strange Graves of Oakland Cemetery

Field review by the editors.

Atlanta, Georgia

Oakland Cemetery is Atlanta's oldest and largest boneyard, containing the graves of many special people, including Maggie Chapman, who died in 1880 when her winged angel costume caught fire during an Atlanta opera performance.

Lion of the Confederacy.
The unhappy Lion of the Confederacy.

But its most peculiar appearing grave belongs to Jasper "Jack" Newton Smith.

Known as in his lifetime as "Atlanta's quaintest character," Smith made a fortune selling bricks to Atlanta when the city rose from its ashes after the Civil War. He lived until 1918, and long before that he had his mausoleum built in Oakland Cemetery out of rejected granite street paving blocks. Over its entrance he placed a life-size granite statue of himself: bald with a bushy mustache, sitting in a rumpled suit in an armchair, holding his top hat, staring at the cemetery gates only a few yards away. Smith was a frequent visitor to his tomb, and one time he climbed its roof to rip away a vine that had grown around his granite neck (Smith never wore a necktie).

Our Confederate Dead obelisk.
Our Confederate Dead obelisk was the tallest thing in Atlanta when it was dedicated in 1874.

The cemetery's other well-known monuments are the 65-foot-tall "Our Confederate Dead" obelisk -- the tallest thing in Atlanta when it was dedicated in 1874 -- and a massive "Lion of the Confederacy" sculpture, carved 20 years later from the then-largest block of marble quarried in America. The dying lion, copied from a nearly identical monument in Switzerland, clutches a Rebel flag in its paws and rests atop the mass grave of 3,000 unidentified Confederate soldiers, who were buried in Oakland Cemetery after losing the Battle of Atlanta.

Strange Graves of Oakland Cemetery

Oakland Cemetery

Address:
248 Oakland Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA
Directions:
Cemetery entrance is at the intersection of MLK Jr Drive SE and Oakland Ave. SE. Jack Smith's statue-topped mausoleum is a hundred yards inside the entrance, on the right. The Confederate obelisk and Lion are further in; turn left to reach the next cemetery road, then turn right.
Hours:
Daily dawn-dusk. (Call to verify)
Phone:
404-688-2107
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Georgia Capitol - Dioramas, 2-Headed Calf, Lady LibertyGeorgia Capitol - Dioramas, 2-Headed Calf, Lady Liberty, Atlanta, GA - < 1 mi.
Statue of Tom Watson, Jekyll-Hyde of GeorgiaStatue of Tom Watson, Jekyll-Hyde of Georgia, Atlanta, GA - < 1 mi.
54 Columns54 Columns, Atlanta, GA - 1 mi.
In the region:
Cagle Castle, Alpharetta, GA - 24 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Georgia

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Georgia.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

April 19, 2018

My Sights

My Sights

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Georgia Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, Wilson, North Carolina (Apr 16-22, 2018)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Book Online Now

 

Favorite Quirky City Sights