Jasper Newton Smith Watches Over Oakland Cemetery

One of the most unique mausoleums to be found in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery is that of successful Atlanta businessman, Jasper Newton Smith. Occupying a prominent site close to the cemetery’s main entrance, the structure’s focal point is the life-sized statue of Smith perched in a chair atop the building. The sculpture, commissioned by Smith for the purpose of constructing his mausoleum, originally depicted him wearing a tie---something Smith never wore because of a boyhood episode in which he almost choked to death. This detail became a point of contention between Smith and sculptor, Oliver W. Edwards, who, for two long years, refused to remove it. In turn, Smith refused to pay him and eventually Edwards relented and chipped away the offending cravat.

Smith is the only one of his family to be entombed in the mausoleum, where, from his vantage point it has been said he is able to “watch the comings and goings”. Local lore has it that Smith gets up out of his chair and walks the cemetery at night.


  1. What a great story! I've been wanting to make a road trip to cemeteries in the South. I'll add Oakland Cemetery to my list. Thank you for that.

  2. So glad you enjoyed the story behind this unusual mausoleum! Oakland Cemetery is a “must see.” I look forward to getting back there, myself. Previous posts featured author Margaret Mitchell (April) and Dr. Noel d'Alvigny (June), who are also buried in Oakland.

  3. Read "Tombstones Sometimes Lie" (it is online) and learn more about Jasper Smith.


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