Buckhead is known for its glitz, glamour, shopping and million dollar homes. But tucked away are tiny remnants of its rural past in the form of ancient and oftentimes, forgotten cemeteries.
At last count, the Buckhead Coalition counted nine historic cemeteries, with as few as two people buried in them to as many as 1,000. Some of the headstones date back to 1837 and includes the bodies of former slaves, their masters, church members and paupers.
Recently, family members of people buried at Piney Grove Cemetery complained that a new condominium development was threatening the graves there. But Piney Grove, where former slaves have been buried since the 1800s, is barely recognizable as a cemetery as weeds have overtaken it. It raises the question of what is its future, as well as the future of all of the cemeteries that say so much about the past.
“These cemeteries are sacred spaces,” said Erica Danylchak, executive director of the Buckhead Heritage Society. “People’s family members are out there and out of respect, they should be restored. They tell the early story of our communities. Our cemeteries are our connections to Buckhead’s rural past.”