Oakland Cemetery Halloween Tour tickets on sale

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This year’s Halloween tours are called Capturing the Sprit of Oakland and they promise to be the biggest and best yet.

The tours now span TWO weekends. Tours begin at 5:30 and last about an hour, but you MUST have a ticket to enter:

  • Friday, October 18
  • Saturday, October 19
  • Thursday, October 24
  • Friday, October 25
  • Saturday, October 26
  • Sunday, October 27

Adults: $20.00; Children 4-12 years of age: $10; Children 3 years of age and under: Free. An additional service charge will be applied at the time of purchase. Buy tickets NOW! NO TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT THE GATE!

Want to know what you’re in for? Check out this video from last year:

Historic Oakland Cemetery receives many visitors each day, but only at Halloween do the gates stay open after dark. Witness the magnificent final resting place of Atlanta’s sons and daughters during the Capturing the Spirit of Oakland 2013 Halloween Tours. Join us this year and hear first-hand accounts about our city’s past, narrated by a host of Oakland’s eternal “residents.” You’ll also see gorgeous candlelit mausoleums in this one-of-a-kind annual tradition. Bring a flashlight and wear comfortable walking shoes. There will be beer, wine, and soft drinks for sale, and browse Oakland’s Museum Shop for unique finds.

Guided tours start at 5:30 pm each night at the Bell Tower and last approximately one hour. You must have your ticket to enter the cemetery. To ensure all ticket holders are accommodated, tour tickets are sold in timed increments, and a limited number of tickets are available. To buy tickets, click links above.

Limited free parking is available near the main entrance and on neighboring streets. Due to the event, parking inside the cemetery is not possible. Carpooling or taking MARTA to the King Memorial Station is recommended.

There is no rain date. In case of a severe weather cancellation, ticket holders will receive via the mail, a free pass for a future guided tour at Oakland.

This event is appropriate for children 8 and above.

Please note: There is no promotion code or discount for this event. There is an additional processing fee applied by TicketAlternative for each ticket purchased.  Due to the historic nature of Oakland Cemetery, not all areas of the park are ADA accessible.

Atlanta’s banker and builder, Joel Hurt

This is part of my continuing series on Atlanta history, as told through the residents of Atlanta’s Historic Oakland Cemetery.

A young Joel Hurt, courtesy of Wikipedia
A young Joel Hurt, courtesy of Wikipedia

Joel Hurt (1850–1926) was a key businessman and developer in Atlanta. He was the last of that bread of great “movers and shakers” of the South: entrepreneur, inventor, banker, engineer, builder and railroad man. His work helped to shape the city we see today. He’s responsible for local banks, the first electric street car in Atlanta, the city’s first skyscraper, the neighborhoods of Inman Park and Druid Hills, and his masterpiece—The Hurt Building—still stands in downtown Atlanta. Inman Park named a street after him and the city commissioned a park downtown.

But as with the fortunes of many great men, Hurt’s wealth and fame was—at least partially—built on the backs of those less fortunate. Though born after slavery and the Civil War, Hurt still managed to enslave others. Convict labor—mostly black men—was exploited to construct many of Hurt’s projects. These convicts were harshly disciplined and cruelly deprived of their most basic civil rights. The Wall Street Journal’s bureau chief Douglas Blackmon’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Slavery by Another Name revealed the extent to which Joel Hurt’s fortune was built on this practice. It was made into a PBS Documentary of the same name.

Joel Hurt, circa 1900, courtesy of Wikipedia
Joel Hurt, circa 1900, courtesy of Wikipedia

What is perhaps even more shocking to us today, Hurt admitted to full knowledge of this crime against humanity. According to Wikipedia, “Hurt was unrepentant in hearings in 1908 that brought out the shocking abuses in the Hurt family convict labor camps. His callous indifference to evidence that many of his workers had died of abuse and his viciousness in asserting that convict workers could not be beaten enough horrified even contemporary Georgians. These hearings led in large part to the banning of convict leasing in Georgia.”

Was he an Atlanta hero or a villain? Both. Hurt’s life is an example of the complexities that make us the human race. We are all of us capable of hard work, grandeur and petty greed.

Joel Hurt’s name and gravestone just might come up during the Oakland Cemetery Special Twilight tour, Pioneers of Atlanta: Meet the founding sons and daughters of a town originally known as “Terminus.”  Wander among the graves of the first farmers, lawyers, early mayors, and town commissioners. Hear stories of accomplishments and failures, civil strife, gunfights and interaction with other developing communities that made us a community of people, not just an economic center. The tour is conducted these select Saturdays at 6:30p: 6/15, 7/20, 8/17, 9/21.

courtesy Larry Felton Johnson's photos of Oakland Cemetery
courtesy Larry Felton Johnson’s photos of Oakland Cemetery

The Joel Hurt Cottage still stands near Elizabeth and Euclid Streets in Inman Park.