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Colonial Park Cemetery

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

200 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit Colonial Park Cemetery during the early morning hours when the gates first open; it's not only a tranquil time to appreciate the historic site without the crowds, but the soft morning light also offers a unique ambiance and gorgeous photo opportunities. Additionally, look out for the 'Crying Angel' statue, a lesser-known but moving monument often missed by casual visitors."

What is Colonial Park Cemetery?

Colonial Park Cemetery, nestled in the heart of Savannah, Georgia, is among the most historic and serene resting places you'll ever set foot in. More than just a cemetery, this six-acre plot of land, shaded by live oaks and Spanish moss, offers a quiet retreat from the bustling city streets, a window into the past, and a place where history seems to whisper through the aged tombstones. Established around 1750, Colonial Park Cemetery is the final resting place of some of Savannah's earliest and most notable figures.

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The air here is thick with stories, most of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, making it a location of significant historical interest. If you stroll down the pathways lined with weathered headstones and mausoleums, you'll notice that time has left its mark, with many of the inscriptions faded and worn away. It's not unusual to find visitors and locals alike meandering throughout the grounds, many caught up in the narrative of Savannah's earlier days, reflected in the memory of those buried here.

History of Colonial Park Cemetery

Colonial Park Cemetery's narrative began as a humble burial ground but later evolved into the main city cemetery by the time of the American Revolution. Throughout its time, it has witnessed the city's growth, survived sieges, and served as a backdrop for many of Savannah's historical events. The cemetery was closed for burials in 1853 and consequently has preserved many early American gravestones which are seldom found elsewhere.

During the Civil War, the cemetery suffered at the hands of occupying Union troops. Soldiers desecrated graves, altering many headstones for their amusement—a haunting reminder of wartime cruelties. The soldiers' mischief is still evident today; some headstones show incorrect death dates, with some ludicrously suggesting that the person lived well over a century. Savannah's residents have worked to restore and maintain the dignity of these historic grounds, ensuring that the memories of those interred are honored.

One of the more interesting stories from its past is that of the yellow fever victims and the mass graves that were a necessity due to the epidemic's high death toll. An estimated 700 victims are believed to be buried in Colonial Park Cemetery, their lives abruptly ended by the relentless fever that swept through Savannah in 1820.

Why is Colonial Park Cemetery Important?

To understand Savannah is to understand its history, and Colonial Park Cemetery is an indispensable fragment of the city's identity. It's a physical chronicle of Savannah's past, housing the remains of notable individuals like Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Archibald Bulloch, the first President of Georgia. The cemetery bears witness to Savannah's early political and social evolution, housing individuals who shaped the young city's destiny.

But Colonial Park Cemetery is much more than its famous inhabitants. It's important for its representation of everyday Georgian life over several decades. The markers here tell stories of ordinary people—merchants, soldiers, children—a microcosm of a bygone era. The site is also an essential education tool, providing invaluable lessons in genealogy, epitaphs, and mortuary art through its old and elaborate gravestones, which are viewed as important historical documents.

For those with a keen eye on the supernatural, the cemetery's importance morphs into one of intrigue and mystery. Due to its age and the historical significance, it’s often associated with ghost stories and is a staple on Savannah's famous ghost tours. Whether you believe in spirits or not, there's no denying the eerie charisma that Colonial Park Cemetery exudes, making it a magnet for curiosity seekers and history buffs alike.

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Things to Do & See at Colonial Park Cemetery

While visiting the cemetery, you can embark on a self-guided tour to explore the hauntingly beautiful grounds. Look for the historical markers that provide context to the deeply storied past of Savannah. One of the first things you'll notice is the intricate ironwork and the ancient trees that create a canopy overhead, contributing to the cemetery's ethereal atmosphere.

Venture to the north wall where you can view a collection of headstones damaged during the Union occupation; they've been mounted on the wall for preservation. Some visitors come to rub the gravestones, trying to discern the faded inscriptions—a touchstone to the past. It's a compelling experience that offers a palpable sense of connection with historical figures of Savannah.

There's also the Dueling Grounds located just outside the south gate, where it's rumored that many a gentleman's quarrel was settled with pistols at dawn. While you cannot walk directly on these grounds, standing on the periphery and imagining the tense scenes of yesteryear brings history to life. You might also encounter some friendly guides who offer more formal tours with deeper insights into the cemetery's past, perfect for those who wish to dive into the rich tapestry that is Savannah's history.

Frequently asked questions

What is the history of Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah?

Colonial Park Cemetery, established in 1750, is one of the oldest cemeteries in Savannah. It served as the city's primary public cemetery during its early history. Many notable figures in Georgia's colonial and revolutionary history are buried here.

Who are some of the notable figures buried at Colonial Park Cemetery?

Notable figures buried at Colonial Park Cemetery include Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and several early governors of Georgia.

What are the operating hours of Colonial Park Cemetery?

Colonial Park Cemetery is typically open to the public daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, but it's always best to check the latest information as operating hours may vary.

Are there guided tours available for Colonial Park Cemetery?

Yes, guided tours are available which offer detailed historical insights into the cemetery's past, the lives of those interred, and the symbolism behind the headstones and monuments.

Is there an admission fee to visit Colonial Park Cemetery?

No, entry to Colonial Park Cemetery is generally free to the public, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists interested in Savannah's history.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

200 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps