Neighborhood | Community
The beautiful monuments among the rolling hills of the historic Oconee Hill Cemetery memorialize a cross-section of Athens old and new. Many names, such as Lumpkin, Cobb, Church, and Hill, have long been fused with Athens’ history, while others, such as Dean Rusk, Wally Butts, Fred Davison, and B-52s guitarist Ricky Wilson, have a place in our more recent memory. The cemetery was established in 1856 and designed as a rural cemetery, distinguished by its park-like appearance. Originally only 17 acres in size, the cemetery has grown to almost 100 acres. The cemetery is divided into three distinct sections: the original memorial park, the Factory Burying Ground where employees of the nearby Athens Manufacturing Company were buried, and a section that was established after the Civil War by the Congregation Children of Israel. The Bisson Family, who for many years served as sextons, included several skilled sculptors, and they crafted many of the tombstones and memorials. The family lived in the Sexton’s House, a circa 1880 Georgian Cottage which was beautifully restored in 2007 by the Friends of Oconee Hill Cemetery. The cemetery’s gravestones, tombstones and headstones are rich in detail and symbolism, and the tour will include an explanation of the meanings of the various carvings, symbols, icons and other funerary art found there. This tour will last between 2 and 3 hours.
10 a.m. ACHF Member: $12 / Non-member: $15