Atlanta's Hollywood Cemetery (and the connecting Magnolia Cemetery) has fallen on hard times. Largely abandoned by the families of those buried there in the 1960s and horribly neglected by the managing company this blog's purpose is to let the descendants of those buried at Hollywood Cemetery and other interested parties connect to take future action.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Hollywood Cemetery Timeline
This is a very rough timeline, but I thought it might be helpful to lay out as much of Hollywood Cemetery's history as I could easily determine.
And nothing with Hollywood Cemetery is ever easy! In many ways, making this timeline opened up as many lines of enquiry as it answered. However, that means I know have some very definate areas of research to look into.
Hollywood Cemetery, Atlanta Timeline
1890-Plans for The Hollywood Cemetery announced.
April 2, 1893-Article appears in
Atlanta Constitution describing the cemetery and the terms of sale (most lots under $25, $1.50 down, $1 a month). The office was in the old Capitol Building (also known as the Kimball House).
June 4, 1893-First obit I found referencing a burial at Hollywood for Lemon Schell, a Mason. While I'm not certain he's the very first person buried at Hollywood, I do believe he's amongst the first.
January 4, 1894- Owners of cemetery
petition Fulton County to make cemetery sexton a deputy because of
problems with “negroes and whisky.” There was apparently a picnic ground popular with African-Americans next to Hollywood Cemetery (the whole area was something a weekend getaway!) and issues between the two groups popped up quickly.
July 15, 1897-Hollywood Cemetery Company is in bankruptcy and is auctioned off. A new corporation with a similar name is formed.
May 9, 1901-Hollywood Cemetery Company
sued over denying burial to Ludie Carlton. The newspaper articles I read said this was because the sexton believed her to be black, but when I read the court documents it seemed it was more of an inheritance issue. Her grandmother, Jane Wright, sued and was later buried at Hollywood.
May 21, 1901- Hollywood's sexton, W.A. Peters, gets into legal trouble involving using land that didn't belong to the company as burial land for African-Americans (Hollywood was a whites only cemetery).
August 24, 1901- Streetcars made Hollywood Cemetery possible back in 1890 and the line would add special cars to transport funeral parties. After the funeral of a child a streetcar accident with funeral goers caused the death of one of the attendees and injured many others.
August 2, 1903-A HUGE Ad in Constitution advertising lots. The company is now based out of 311 Empire Building, which these days is part of the GSU campus.
October 25, 1903-More ads! This one claims that the company guarantees that in five years each lot will be worth $50; in return for the guarentee the buyers will give the company any money made on the lots OVER $50. Ad hints at perpetual care (no need to worry about upkeep!).
December 3, 1907- T.J. Eady seems to be in control of HCC, tries to sell the cemetery to Atlanta.
1913-Owners still trying to sell the cemetery to the city of Atlanta.
1919-Hollywood Cemetery listed in the Georgia Secretary of State records as being incorporated in 1897 (the year of the bankruptcy reorganization). Its worth was listed at $100,000.
1954-The Hollywood Road area becomes part of the City of Atlanta.
Late 50s-60s-White flight commences. The biggest impact on Hollywood is that the families of those buried there scatter and lose their ties to the community, and any semblance of upkeep on the cemetery starts winding down.
1964-Monte Vista (the better kept cemetery on the right!) is incorporated. I'm completely unclear if this was the point where the two get mixed up, if Monte Vista has its basis in the sexton's illegal cemetery, or what happened to the Hollywood Cemetery Company.
1972ish- Report of gangs roaming Hollywood Cemetery. Whether or not this is true, I can tell you that my family certainly believed it. Now fear was added to distance to keep the original families away.
mid-1980s-As a child I was driven down Hollywood Road regularly, but thought only one side of the street was a cemetery. Until I read the Jewish Times story, I thought the other side of the road was forest!
2010-Atlanta Report. This is a report by the city of Atlanta on revitalizing the west side, and the include Hollywood Cemetery (along with Monte Vista and Magnolia) in the revitalization plan, calling them potential draws to the area, confirm the idea that the city or county could take the cemetery over, and reaffirm the need for a Friends of organization.
2010-Last obit I could find referencing burial at Hollywood. I can't even imagine how, or where, burial at Hollywood is possible! Maybe the smaller tiered section across the street?
2011-This blog post states all the bronze markers have been stolen off of the crypts.
I'll start adding the scans and transcriptions of the primary documents I've collected about Hollywood as soon as possible.