Oak Grove was established by the city of Brunswick in 1838 as its first public cemetery and was originally designed to encompass ten acres. I received a nice message from Oak Grove Cemetery Society President Robert M. Gindhart III and he updated some of the history of the site: The cemetery was finally reduced to the size we see today in 1901 to make way for the new Brunswick and Birmingham Railroad roadbed. This greatly altered the western boundary of Oak Grove, moving the fence 50 feet eastward. Fifty graves were exhumed and most of those were brought within the new cemetery boundary. Were all exhumed? Recently, OGCS, using Ground Penetrating Radar, identified hundreds of unknown graves. We have added those to our electronic map found at: www.oakgrovetour.com identified by beginning with letter U and a blue dot.
Oak Grove contains a nice variety of Victorian funerary monuments and is one of Brunswick’s most fascinating public spaces. It shouldn’t be overlooked.
The memorials that follow were randomly selected and appear in no particular order
Oak Grove is open from dawn until dusk. Parking is free, on the street beside the cemetery.
This unassuming commercial storefront, now little more than a shell, was home to the Boblo Records Studio, an obscure label which actually churned out a few recordings in the 1970s. Chet Bennett designed the studio for owner Bobby Smith, and is credited as producer, as well. One of the best known artists to record here was Jimmy “Orion” Ellis. Two of the first records to bear the Boblo Records label were “Mr. Boogie Man” and “Feel Like Being Funky” by Avalanche.
The studio was relatively short-lived, but its mere presence in Brunswick was quite amazing.
It’s obvious that the porch, in its present configuration, is a later addition to this house. I’m unsure as to its original style; the date of 1895 is from a resource survey and may only be a guess. I hope to learn more.
Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
In 1870, the Freedmen’s School was established as the first public school for African-Americans in Brunswick. Colored Memorial High School, designed by Cloister architect Francis L. Abreu, was built adjacent to the Freedmen’s School in 1923* and named to honor African-American veterans of World War I. The Freedmen’s School was replaced by Risley High School in 1936 and served the community until 1955 when a new Risley High School was built elsewhere. It was named Risley School, for Captain Douglas Gilbert Risley, who advocated for the school as the head of the Freedmen’s Bureau.
*- The 1922 date on the building is the date the cornerstone was laid by Dr. H. R. Butler.
The whole affair makes me angry but it’s nice to see this mural in the heart of Brunswick’s African-American community, on Albany Street. It was painted by Brunswick-born Miami artist Marvin Weeks and aims to educate and bring together all who deplore this inexcusable crime. The structure on which it is painted will soon become an African-American cultural center.