Athens cemetery added to national register

A historic cemetery in Athens is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Jackson Street Cemetery, on the University of Georgia’s campus, was added Oct. 2. The 2.5-acre cemetery has an estimated 800 graves, UGA said.

“Getting this honorary designation reinforces the importance of the site on a broader level,” Janine Duncan, a UGA campus planning coordinator in the grounds department, said in a news release. Starting as a graduate student, Duncan headed a preservation project to have the cemetery listed on the register.

The cemetery was primarily used between 1810 and 1856. At that time, the Oconee Hill Cemetery, which is located behind Sanford Stadium, opened.

“The recognition is a great gesture in noting the significance of the cemetery,” Dexter Adams, director of the UGA grounds department. “Our research and investigation into conditions at the cemetery have confirmed that there are many, many more burials there than are represented by the surviving markers and monuments. The National Register listing is at least a noteworthy and honorable means of recognizing those otherwise anonymous individuals.”

A number of famous Athenians are buried in the cemetery, including two UGA presidents.

“Cemeteries are some of the hardest sites to get on the register because you have to prove the historic integrity is still there,” Duncan said in the release. “Cemeteries are hallowed spaces. They are also artistic spaces. The designs in the headstones and monuments speak to the period in which they are created.”

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