The Family Mausoleum in a Walmart Parking Lot

(Photo: Anita White)

In 1820, James M. Crowley moved to what is now DeKalb County, Georgia. He bought 500 acres of land before dying in 1828. His family buried him on a hillside on his own property. His descendants would later join him in what became the family cemetery.

The cemetery is still there at the insistence of the family, though it is now surrounded on all sides by a Walmart parking lot. Atlas Obscura describes his unusual mausoleum:

As time passed, the Crowley estate was slowly parceled off with the remaining portion remaining in the possession of a family relation or descendant of James Crowley. Finally in the 1960s a huge portion of the land was sold to make way for the new Avondale Mall. The only problem was that this included the hilltop family plot. However the builders agreed to leave the graves untouched and the mall construction got underway. As the ground was flattened to a straight grade to make room for a parking lot, the construction ended up shaving down around 12 feet of land, leaving the bodies at the top of the hill high and dry. However, good as their word, the Crowley Mausoleum was constructed which surrounded the burial site, essentially leaving the bodies interred on the roof. The building holds 13 graves on its flagstone covered roof. 11 of them are buried in unmarked stone box graves and two of them have headstones. From the ground, the mausoleum shows little indication of its true nature.

You can see more pictures of the graveyard at the International Black Sheep Society of Geneaologists.

-via VA Viper

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