Laurel Grove Cemetery
Laurel Grove Cemetery
Savannah, GA 31401
Daily 8:00a - 5:00p
Laurel Grove Cemetery includes the original cemetery for whites (now known as Laurel Grove North) and a companion burial ground (called Laurel Grove South) that was reserved for slaves and free people of color. The original cemetery has countless graves of many of Savannah's Confederate veterans of the American Civil War. Laurel Grove South holds the graves of thousands of slaves and free blacks from coastal Georgia.
Laurel Grove was named after the native laurel oak trees which once inhabited the site. Although planned as early as 1818, Laurel Grove first opened for burials in 1853 and it became the city's primary burial ground. This lovely cemetery features small parks, detailed ironwork and ornate mausoleums.
The 67-acre cemetery was designed around a natural ravine and included a large Central Green with curving roadways. A Keeper’s House, Porter’s Lodge, Gazebo, and Public Holding Vault were built by 1853, and these historically-significant structures are used by today’s Department of Cemeteries
The Laurel Grove Cemetery is divided into two sections - north and south by Highway 204. But more than just a road divides these two sections. Laurel Grove north, a burial place for white people, is the home for thousands of graves in a natural setting of magnolia, live oak, dogwood and pine. More than 1500 Confederate Soldiers are buried in a section devoted entirely to the Civil War dead including eight generals. One of the most popular sites is the grave of Juliet Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.
Laurel Grove North is unique in that the interment rights to all of the available cemetery lots were sold out during the Victorian Era, and, as a result, this park-like cemetery probably has the highest concentration of Victorian period cemetery architecture in the Southeast.
In 1853, 15 aces of the original cemetery were set aside for the burial of "free persons of color and slaves." Six years later, the city council increased the size of Laurel Grove South to 30 acres and a caretaker's house was built. This cemetery is one of the oldest black cemeteries currently in use. Notables buried here include Reverend Andrew Bryan (1716-1812), Reverend Henry Cunningham (1759-1842), and Reverend Andrew Cox Marshall (1755-1856), all early Baptist ministers in Savannah.
The tombstones range from simple markers to elaborately carved figures. Inscriptions reveal a fascinating history not found in any books. Laurel Grove Cemetery South is a tour stop on the African-American tours given six days a week by the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.