ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – Feet away from the fifth green, nearly 100 unmarked graves were discovered at the North Fulton Golf Course in Chastain Park by a surveyor.
Ray Mock, the Chastain Park Conservancy Operations Director, explained that he always knew there were graves located somewhere on the land, but he didn’t know the exact location until he found an old map detailing the location of the cemetery.
“I really didn’t have any expectations,” Mock told WSB-TV. “I was almost positive we had a cemetery, but I wasn’t sure what we would find.”
From 1911 to the 1960s, two almshouse, or poorhouses, were operated in the park by Fulton County and he figured that the people who lived there were also buried underneath what is now the golf course.
Mock hired Len Strozier from Omega Mapping Services who then used ground mapping sonar to locate the graves. Each one has been marked with a small orange flag.
“As we started the survey, and Len was traveling around with his machine, he kept putting flags in the ground, and flags and more flags, and I felt a little excitement,” Mock told WSB-TV. “It’s like discovering something for the very first time.”
Mock shared that the golf course was built in the 1930s and that the city must have known the cemetery was there, even though records have vanished over the years.
The Chastain Park Conservancy plans to leave the graves undisturbed, but may plant wildflowers there and add an informational sign explaining the old poorhouse and the people buried there, WSB-TV reported.
“When I come to places like this, this is holy ground,” Strozier shared with WSB-TV. “This is a special place. Think of the families who would come here regularly to attend to their family. It really means a lot to me, it really does.”