While Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery is more celebrated, Westview Cemetery is a beautiful gem within the city. It’s the largest cemetery in the entire Southeastern United States and an under-appreciated American necropolis.
Founded in 1884, the sprawling cemetery takes up roughly 600 acres and contains more than 108,000 dead bodies, including such famous residents as Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler and rapper Dolla. Drive through the cemetery grounds, and you’ll encounter beautiful obelisks, graves, vaults, fountains, and a curious water tower topped with crenulated battlements.
Of particular note is the West View Abbey Mausoleum, constructed in the 1940s and still in operation today. Open to the public, its aged halls contain thousands of tombs, and it is, according to the Westview website, “the largest structure of its kind ever built under one roof.”
A morning’s visit during the summer, without lighting and air conditioning, is likely to lead visitors on a somber walk past Christian mosaics and indistinct paintings, through a chapel, and down twisting staircases into the dark, leaky crypt-like halls of its lower floor.
Know Before You Go
The mausoleum is open the public 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Please be respectful of those visiting deceased loved ones.