All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Harriet E Amos Doss

Advisory Committee Members

Paul Beezley

Andrew Keitt

Walter Ward

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

OAK HILL CEMETERY: A REFLECTION OF EARLY BIRMINGHAM 1871 - 1913 TERRI L. HICKS ABSTRACT Oak Hill Cemetery, Birmingham's first city cemetery, is located north of the downtown area and within its walls are the gravestones of many of the city's founders, including Birmingham's first mayor, Robert Henley; William Mudd, who built Arlington Antebellum Home; several governors, and veterans from every war. Strolling through the cemetery is like walking into an outdoor classroom. From a preservation perspective, cemeteries provide essential elements of societies' collective history, including insight into past burial customs, religious beliefs, cultural and ethnic influences, community origins and development, and landscape design principles. Many remnants from the beginnings of a town or city may be lost, but cemeteries often remain as some of the last tangible links to the past. Oak Hill Cemetery provides that link for Birmingham. This thesis will follow Birmingham, beginning with the origination of the city as a new industrial center that grew faster than anticipated and with this came growing pains. With so many individuals moving to the city, diseases, accidents, and murders became everyday occurrences, making a City Cemetery crucial. In the second chapter we will discuss Oak Hill Cemetery specifically, including its historical significance. People viewed death in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a morbid and frightening thing, but as the nineteenth century continued and Romanticism became popular, people no longer saw death as the end of a person's life, but the beginning of a new one. Rural cemeteries such as Oak Hill became popular during this time with their welcoming park-like atmosphere. Finally, in chapter three we will continue with stories of the more famous individuals that can be found interred within Oak Hill. Every person interred there and every story told provides small pieces of a bigger historical puzzle. While many of the individuals discussed within this chapter were connected to Oak Hill only through their final resting place, they were still conduits of history that highlight not only the cemetery itself, but also the people and events that shaped the foundation of the city of Birmingham.

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