By John Schaffner
The Atlanta City Council voted 11 – 1 on March 15 against issuing a cemetery disturbance permit to a developer who wanted to move graves from Mt. Olive Cemetery on Pharr Road in Buckhead.
The small parcel of land at 431 Pharr Road is the last trace of the African American community once known as Macedonia Park. The cemetery is at the entrance to Frankie Allen Park, where Buckhead Baseball is headquartered.
Mt. Olive Cemetery is all that remains of the Macedonia Park neighborhood, one of Buckhead’s few historic black communities. Macedonia was a thriving community with 400 residents, three churches, two grocery stores, barbers, a blacksmith and restaurants. In the 1940s, Fulton County began to systematically remove residents by condemning and purchasing the properties in Macedonia to make way for a park.
Brandon Marshall of Stone Mountain purchased the approximately .22 acres of land about two years ago for $58,000, an amount that covered the taxes Fulton County claimed were due on the property. However, when he bought the property, he did not know the site was a cemetery.
Further complicating the purchase was that the county should not have been levying taxes on the property because it is a cemetery.
When he was unable to get the county to buy back the property or to convince the city of Atlanta to purchase it for the park, Marshall sought to have the graves removed so he could develop the site.
(See related story on Page 4 of the Buckhead Reporter, March 12-25.)