Westview Cemetery (Photo by Annie Kinnett Nichols)
Westview Cemetery (Photo by Annie Kinnett Nichols)

By Annie Kinnett Nichols

Westview Cemetery is marking its 130 anniversary beginning Saturday,  Oct. 25, with a series of events and tours.

Tomorrow will feature guest speakers Rodney Mims Cook, founder and president of the National Monument Foundation at 10:15 a.m.; author John S. Bayne, who will discuss his newly published book, Atlanta’s Westview Cemetery, at 11:15 a.m.; and Boyd Coons, director of the Atlanta Preservation Center.

From Oct. 27-29, there will be special guided bus tours of the grounds daily at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are required by emailing cjulian@westviewcemetery.com.

On Oct. 30 there will be an event hosted by the Atlanta History Center called “Party With the Past” at the mausoleum from 5 to 9 p.m. Attendees must be 21 and over to attend since beer and wine will be served. There will be mini-tours and more. Find out more at this link.

The cemetery is located near West End in the Westview neighborhood at 1680 Westview Drive SW. Find out more about the upcoming events and the cemetery at westviewcemetery.com.

I’ll be attending some of these events since I’m shooting an documentary on Atlanta’s cemeteries and some of the historians who have, shall I say, a love affair with our city’s dead. This is the first film I’ve ever attempted to make and the budget, of course, is non-existent but I’m having a blast working on it. My friend and colleague John Bayne’s book will be the first about Westview.

While writing the book, John Bayne had a hard time finding out much information on the women buried there and their importance to Atlanta. When you figure that half the cemetery is filled with women, it’s obvious that the printed history of Atlanta women is sorely lacking. One of the few records available for research is part of Franklin Garrett’s Atlanta and Environs, published in 1954, whose history only covers the period 1820-1939.

Westview is located on the site of the Battle of Ezra Church fought 150 years ago during the Civil War. It’s the largest cemetery in the Southeast and the Abbey Mausoleum can house upwards of over 11,400 people. John  researched the book for years and has written an excellent guide with as much information as he could find.

See you there!

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.