Harmony Grove Cemetery
Thousands of cars zip down West Paces Ferry Road past the Atlanta History Center every day. But very few people notice the small cemetery nestled in the trees on the corner of Chatham Road, just a block away from the museum. I have to admit that I’ve worked at the AHC for nearly five years and had never ventured into the cemetery. So I decided to take a long overdue walk down the street to check it out.
The earliest known burial dates to 1870, when the James H. Smith family buried their youngest son on the site. The cemetery contains more than 170 plots, and is divided into a white and black section. Burials were not very frequent at the site until the late 1880s when a church was built nearby. By 1918, the congregation had broken up and the church was torn down. The cemetery fell into private hands and by the 1950s, it had become overgrown and was generally neglected. In 2006, the Buckhead Heritage Society led an effort to restore the cemetery, and with the help of archeologists, landscape architects, and headstone repair experts, the cemetery was reclaimed.
Some of the most notable occupants are the father of Dorothy Shay (better known as the Park Avenue Hillbilly), and the great-grandparents of actress Julia Roberts.
Next time you come to the AHC, be sure to stop by and check out Harmony Grove!