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Friends of the Decatur Cemetery

Upcoming Events

Gardening Among the Graves
Landscape gardening in the
Historic Old Section 
Every Tuesday (weather permitting)
9 a.m.-noon
Bring your tools! 

Second Sunday Stroll
Historic Old Section
June 14, 2015, 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the Gazebo 

Nancie’s Pics
New photo contest
Runs through Oct. 1
See below for details

The Friends of Decatur Cemetery (FODC), founded in 1993, is a dedicated volunteer group that works closely with the City of Decatur and its citizens to preserve, maintain and improve the cemetery and educate the community about its importance as a historic and cultural resource.

Today FODC continues to advocate for the preservation and improvement of the 58 acres of green space that make up the Decatur Cemetery, the oldest municipal burying ground in the area. The group continues to explore better utilization of the space as a treasured environment within an urban setting. With the implementation of a recent master plan, there is high anticipation that our cemetery will become an even greater treasure.

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Ongoing Projects:

  • Second Sunday Strolls: Decatur Cemetery is the resting place of many citizens who helped create the communities we know today as Decatur, DeKalb County and the state of Georgia. To preserve this history, educational tours are conducted on the second Sunday of every month, May through October. Tours begin at 2:30 pm at the well house/gazebo in the Historic Old Section. Suggested donation: $5.00. Special group tours can also be arranged by contacting FODC at friendsofdecaturcemetery@gmail.com.
  • Volunteer Workdays: Volunteers currently meet every Tuesday morning (weather permitting) for “Gardening Among the Graves”, from 9 am to noon, to weed and garden in the Historic Old Section. Volunteers also meet periodically on other days for general clean-up, pruning, weeding and planting. Participants have included community groups, church groups, civic organizations and local high school classes. Agnes Scott College students and faculty regularly schedule workdays at Decatur Cemetery. Bring your tools! For more information contact Jim at gardeningamongthegravesfodc@yahoo.com.
  • Announcing Nancie’s Pics — A New Photo Contest: Nancie’s Pics is a new all-season photo contest sponsored by FODC to honor the late Nancie Sill, a longtime supporter and chair of FODC. Nancie was a photographer who appreciated the cemetery’s peaceful beauty. She was also a Decatur Hometown Hero and the driving force behind the cemetery photo contests since 2010.
    At her death in 2014, Nancie had already organized and announced the 2014/2015 Fall-Winter photo contest. Entries sent to FODC for Fall/Winter 2015 have been retained and will be included in the judging of “Nancie’s Pics”.
    First, second and third place prizes will be awarded. The winning photos will be displayed on the Decatur website and framed for display in either the Cemetery Office or the Public Works Offices on Talley Street. Amateur and professional photographers may enter. For more information contact friendsofdecaturcemetery@gmail.com.  
    Eligibility: Photos must be submitted by the original photographer and must have been taken in Decatur Cemetery between Oct. 1, 2014, and Oct. 1, 2015. Entries must be received by Oct. 30, 2015. You may submit up to five print or digital images.
    Photo formats: JPEG images on CD or USB drive are preferred. Entries may be black and white or color. Print images will not be returned; mark print images for careful postal handling. Please include name, address, phone number and email address with your entries.
    Judging: Judges will select winners on how well they convey the unique character of Decatur Cemetery in any season. Photos may include landscapes, monuments, animals, people, or other features.
    To enter: Mail prints or digital images to Photo Contest, c/o Friends of Decatur Cemetery, PO Box 2964, Decatur, GA 30031.
  • Veterans Day: Decatur Cemetery contains graves of veterans from every war from the American Revolution in 1776 through the most recent engagements in the Middle East. On the first Saturday in November, volunteers place US flags on the graves of over 1,000 veterans resting in Decatur Cemetery. On Veterans Day, November 11, at 11 am, an inspiring service of remembrance is held in conjunction with the Harold Byrd Post 66 of the American Legion. Contact Amy Weaver at amy@b2creativeinc.com for details.
  • Gravestone conservation: FODC coordinates annual visits by a professional conservator to repair damaged gravestones in the Historic Old Section. In addition FODC uses approved conservation techniques to clean selected gravestones.
  • Shared Memories. Enduring Legends: Recording the stories of Decatur Cemetery . . . because every life is worth remembering. FODC invites you to share information about those you know who are buried in Decatur Cemetery by participating in this project. We have a brief questionnaire available to help you get started. You may download the file here.

Other Projects and Accomplishments involving FODC:

  • In 1997 Decatur Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The 1881 gazebo was restored, with subsequent painting and repairs to keep it a centerpiece of the Historic Old Section. 
  • The gravesite of Miss Emily Pittman (c, 1852) was restored, with repairs to both the tomb box and the lovely ornate cast iron fence.
  • FODC worked with the City of Decatur to create a self-guided tour brochure for Decatur Cemetery. These can be obtained at the Cemetery Office, the Decatur Welcome Center, or downloaded here.
  • FODC arranged the use of ground penetrating radar to locate several unmarked graves.
  • FODC worked with the City of Decatur to select cemetery management software. This will allow the public to access information online, and will enable the FODC to attach stories from the Shared Memories, Enduring Legends project to individuals’ files.
  • Several members of FODC helped to host the Georgia Municipal Cemetery Conference in Decatur in 2012.
  • The veterans memorial at the Bell Street entrance was restored with support from the City of Decatur and Harold Byrd Post #66, American Legion.

Volunteer Opportunities:
• Clean-up and Gardening
• Tour Guides
• Research
• Historic Preservation
• Website and Social media
• Shared Memories, Enduring Legends Project

FODC members are eager to welcome new members who share a passion for the preservation of such a beautiful, peaceful place. Those interested in joining or volunteering may contact FODC at friendsofdecaturcemetery@gmail.com.  

Woodpecker photo above by Gerald Huggins.

Last updated: 6/11/2015 10:52:50 AM