Saturday, June 23, 2012

Westview Cemetery

 Generally I'm not one of those people who reads the obituaries but back in the '90s when we used to subscribe to the newspaper, occasionally an obituary photo or caption would catch my eye.  One of those captions read that the Chief Justice of the Gypsies of the World had died.   The article about the gypsy leader went on to describe several things about arrangements, particularly sharing that a cortege was planned following the mass with family stating,

"When the priest gets through, we'll put him on the horse and carriage and take him directly to the cemetery. We'll have a feast at the cemetery, too."

White horses drawing a black carriage would be bearing the coffin to Westview Cemetery.  Believe it or not, visiting this cementery has been on my list of to-dos since 1997.   So this morning I stopped Westview by to pay my respects.
The cemetery was established in 1884 and in the past 100+ years more than 93,000 Atlanta's have been interred on what is believed to be the largest cemetery in the southeast. 
 On the grounds of Westview there's an abbey as well as one of the largest community mausoleums of its kind ever built.  It contains space for 11,444 entombments.   
 An interesting stop was seeing the receiving vault which has been sealed up now but when the cemetery first opened it was a place to store the dead who died in the cold of winter. 
 One of the things I appreciated today was seeing names from the past and some of the name combinations.  I've always loved my mother's name which is Sadie and I've been fascinated with by my parents siblings names.  For example names like Frenchie, Wynelle, Wilna, Irwin, Elphia, Carson or Olivia.
Perhaps a picture of Ralph & Bridget O'Hara Williams
Today a few markers I enjoyed reading had names like Ollie, Alice, Bridget O'Hara (the O'Hara's really existed in Atlanta!) Williams, Lizzie, Ledla, Clementine, Isidore, Myrtice, Josiah, Mattie Gee, Eulous, Rossie, Ruby Mae and one that you will have to read for yourself....Seriously!!
Hopefully Seymour didn't use his middle name with his first too often!
Atlanta most historical and well-known cemetery is called Oakland but Westview is also one of Atlanta's landmarks but frequently overlooked.  Many well-known Atlantan have been laid to rest here including Asa Candler (founder of Coca-Cola), Joel Chandler Harris, governors, mayors, civic leaders including the gypsy chief justice. 
Of course the headstones and markers are often amazing and the thoughtful verses are noteworthy, memorable and sometimes haunting.   I found this pillow to be an interesting marker.

If you live in the Atlanta area this place is worth a visit and I've been told it is most beautiful in the fall when one of the world's oldest gingko tree puts on a show. 

Today I'm joining up with The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday and I hope you will stop by to see what other bloggers have been up to.


  1. It's so interesting to see all of the mausoleums as they are uncommon up here. I think the graves of children are so sad - there's one in our Ross Bay cemetery that is marked by a tiny child's chair and a pair of wee cement shoes.

  2. I remember taking a tour of a large cemetery in Cincinnati with my mom and sister in law. It was so interesting and good exercise. I was recently in washington DC with my husband and in-laws and we went to my mother in law's grave. Right above it were tombstones with my maiden name on them. It was a crazy feeling. This one you are talking about reminds me of the ones in New Orleans, I think, the above the ground ones...we lived in Ruston, LA for a short time and visited down there. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. Interesting - where is this? I would like to go. sandie

  4. You will enjoy a visit. It's in the West End community not far from Spelman, Morehouse, etc.

  5. Seymour Butts,lol!
    I remember when we were kids we used to go to a colonial era cemetery. There would be graves for the legs of soldiers.
    Of course, we would try to scare the bejeezes out of each other!

  6. Haunting and beautiful. Seymour Butts~ what a cross to bear :) The mausoleums remind me of those in Key West and New Orleans.

  7. How interesting, Cheryl! I would have loved to see that gypsy funeral! Have a wonderful day!...hugs...Debbie

  8. Found your mention of a quote on Nancy's Notes. First time visit, now a new follower, love your header! Your post today is really wonderful. A vist to this cemetery would be enjoyed by me . . . some day hopefully.

    So much history and design can be found in a cemetery along with thoughts of life and love.

    On a lighter note, my husband had a classmate whose name was Seymour, last name Butts, middle name Red. How could someone do that . . .

    I will enjoy visiting you JoJo . . .

  9. Cheryl what a great post. I think I'll add this to my 'to see in Atlanta' list! hugs, Linda

  10. I can top Seymour Butts. In Houston there lived a well known wealthy philanthropist named Ima Hogg. I have often wondered what her parents were thinking when they decided on this name. Sadly, she must have been the but of jokes when she was growing up. Sorry about the pun, couldn't help myself.

    Susan and Bentley

  11. You cracked me up, lol..What a cross to wear, poor Seymour Butts!! Loving this post lvely lady, so interesting. Cemeteries around here are gorgeous too, with all the fallen angels and mauseliuns for special families and patriots too! Thnks for sharing this Cherryl and for your sweet and warm visit to my post. Happy Sunday to you.

  12. Great photos and words, thanks for sharing. I found you at Seasonal Sundays, and visiting my local, little cemetery is on my 'list' too. It's beautiful, we go for the Memorial Day Ceremony, now I'll have to take pics and write about the interesting things I find. There can't be another Seymour!!!!

  13. What an interesting post! I enjoy visiting cemeteries - especially old ones. The statuary in them is amazing. I love that one in your first photo! My father was from the south and there were a lot of unusual names in my family,too. My Dad's name was Cebern (pronounced C-BURN) I'm having a giveaway on my blog, so I hope you'll stop over!

  14. Westview Cemetery is one of those lovely places in Atlanta I've never seen, and I love old cemeteries. Thanks for sharing your visit there.

  15. Thanks for taking us along. This was very interesting!

  16. I really enjoyed this post and seeing your wonderful photos, Cheryl! I think you might remember I am a volunteer for the historical society of a National Landmarked historical cemetry in Brooklyn, NY, where over half a million permanent residents, named Green-Wood Cemetery. Like Westview, it is full of beautiful statuary and interesting gaves of famous and infamous people. We are always finding new stories about them!

  17. Good morning from Italy and welcome as a new follower of News From Italy, I hope you will enjoy sharing our little piece of Italy. I look forward to getting to know you virtually as now following back.

    Cemeteries can be such interesting places to learn some local and social history, fascinating post Cheryl.

  18. Old cemeteries fascinate me .... all the history and gorgeous sculpture. Thanks for introducing me to westview!

  19. What an interesting post! Such wonderful history as you wander around. I loved that line of mausoleums,beautiful architecture and stained glass windows.Gypsy funeral, that must be so interesting to attend. I liked all the lovely collection of names you mentioned,so fascinating!Thanks for this wonderful virtual tour and for your sweet comment on my Frenchy pots. Have a lovely week!~Poppy

  20. I learn many things about Atlanta reading your blog. I had not heard about Jake’s Ice Cream. I also have never heard about Westview Cemetery – I have been to Oakland Cemetery and wrote a post on it and now will try to visit Westview in the fall. About the Alliance Française – I’d like to visit it sometimes but it is in Atlanta I believe. We live closer to Paulding County than Marietta so it is a long drive to Atlanta, at least one hour so I don’t enjoy driving that far.