Oconee Hill Cemetery
This historic cemetery was founded in 1856 as a replacement burial ground from the existing Historic Jackson Street Cemetery. This site is the resting place of many notable Athenians and Georgians. Located next to Sanford Stadium and the University of Georgia Athens campus, this site contains elaborate Victorian Style funerary markers and mausoleums that have withstood the test of time. This cemetery was designed following the Rural Cemetery Model and encompasses 99 acres. Also on the cemetery grounds is the historic Sexton House, the George E. King Iron Truss bridge which was constructed in 1899 that links the older section of the cemetery to the newer section across the river and a well house build by the Bisson family of granite from their own quarry.
Backstory and Context
Once inside of the cemetery, visitors will encounter a water trough that was used when individuals would visit the cemetery on horseback. Other landmarks that can be found in the cemetery include a memorial for unknown Confederate soldiers who were lost in combat, a World War One memorial and various identification markers that make finding sections of interest more easily accessible for visitors. When the cemetery was originally designed, it was segregated into sections by various religions and races. If looking for specific sections of the cemetery, detailed maps are provided at the Sexton House that show where to find these various places of interest. Some of the different sections that can be found in the Oconee Hill Cemetery are sections for: factory workers, African Americans, the Congregation Children of Israel and pauper sections. Throughout the cemetery, architectural styles such as Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, High Victorian Gothic, and Egyptian Revival can be seen in the many funerary markers found along the curving and meandering paths. Many of the large monuments along with more modest markers can be found dating back to the mid nineteenth century. The beauty and serenity of this site is something that is hard to put into words.
Marshall, Charlotte Thomas. Oconee Hill Cemetery of Athens, Georgia. Vol. 1, Athens Historical Society, 2009.
“Oconee Hill Cemetery.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/13000291.htm.