The graveyard discovered near Chastain Park
October 24, 2014Candice DyerComments
Ray Mock remember fondly the “poorhouses” near the North Fulton Course where he performed like a teenage duffer. “Most of those who resided there have been seniors or ‘tetched,’ once we known as it-or, because the census at that time cruelly called them, ‘lunatics,’ ” he states. “They would gather the lost baseballs during the night and continue to sell it well to all of us the following day: ten for any dollar inside a strawberry basket.”
Mock, now 60-two and also the procedures director for that Chastain Park Conservancy, exhibited to individuals enterprising figures as he was searching over old maps from the area and observed a hands-attracted mix. “That’s typically an emblem for any graveyard, also it was on the corner from the course,” he states. “I’d always heard there have been graves here, however i didn’t understand specifically where or the number of.”
This season, high-tech mapping revealed 80-six unmarked graves only a couple of ft from today’s fifth eco-friendly. These constitute a graveyard that offered Fulton County’s “almshouses,” to make use of the correct Dickensian term. There have been two facilities near one another, segregated by race, operating from 1911 in to the 1960s, when federal entitlements started to phase the system for lengthy-term shelter.
“I had lots of questions,” Mock states, “and I had been wishing that nothing offensive happening, like people golfing around the graves of black people.” Ironically, the city surrounding this former potters field became one from the plushest postal codes within the Southeast the whites-only almshouse has become the esteemed Galloway School, and also the dormitory for African People in america supports the Chastain Arts Center.
“I wondered when the indigents were integrated in funeral,” Mock states. But racial identity is tough to find out most records remain missing, and also the remains have decomposed together with any pine box or cloth shroud that held them. When physiques decompose, though, they leave air pockets that may be detected with ground-penetrating radar, which Len Strozier of Omega Mapping Services accustomed to find and mark each site.
“It could have been simple to desecrate this graveyard, however the people of Chastain Park didn’t do this,Inches Strozier states. “The physiques were generally six ft deep, facing the east for that Second Coming-the custom within the Bible Belt-and also the course was carefully built around it, not regarding this. It’s one of the most sincere old graveyards I’ve found.”
Scientists have situated only four dying certificates for that almshouses: three for un named African People in america whose physiques were donated to science, not hidden in the park site, and something, dated 1922, for L.H. Evans, a 70-year-old white-colored man.
The conservancy intends to plant wildflowers across the border from the graveyard and erect an interpretive memorial. “Not just a regular plaque with dates onto it,Inches Mock states, “but a creative, vandal-proof glass monument that provides significant context. Nobody much thought about these folks once they were alive you want to recognition them now.”
This short article initially made an appearance within our October 2014 issue.