The oldest known publicly owned burial ground in metro Atlanta, the Decatur Cemetery is believed to predate the city's 1823 incorporation. The first written record is an 1832 act of legislature providing "Commissioners for the Decatur Burial Ground."Expanded many times, the cemetery comprises 58 acres with over 20,000 grave sites. Its appearance dates from an 1881 formal landscaping plan which included well house, wrought iron fencing, and architectural details of Stone Mountain granite. The 7.5 acre "Old Cemetery" contains most 19th century interments and the historic African-American section. Monuments commemorate residents of all social strata, ethnic origins, and veterans of every American war. Here rest Col Milton A. Chandler (1837-1909), legislator & congressman; Dr. Tomas Holley Chivers (1806-1858), physician & poet; Mary A. H. Gay (1828-1918), author of Life in Dixie During the War; the Hon. Charles Murphey (1799-1861), legislator, Congressman, & delegate to the Secession Convention; Col. George Washington Scott (1829-1903), founder of Agnes Scott College; Benjamin F. Swanton (1807-1890), entrepreneur & builder of the Swanton House; and many others who shaped the history of the community.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places 1997.