Open daily. Free admission. Leashed dogs welcome.
See below: full visitor information
Colonial Park is the oldest and most conveniently accessible of Savannah’s historic cemeteries and amongst the oldest surviving features of the city’s landscape, used for burials from the 1750s to 1853. Today, the six-acre graveyard is a public park, and a popular stop on the tourist trail.
The information below is correct as of February 2017, but please verify hours and other details before making your visit.
Colonial Park Cemetery Highlights
The Savannah chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected the granite gate at the cemetery’s main entrance at Abercorn Street and Oglethorpe Avenue in 1913. The gate honors soldiers buried in the cemetery who had fought in the American Revolutionary War.
Yellow Fever Graves
One of Colonial Park’s historic markers highlights one of the many tragic episodes in Savannah’s past: the 1820 yellow fever epidemic, one of several major epidemics to hit the city during the 19th century.
The disease caused 666 reported deaths, many of them buried in mass, unmarked graves in what is now Colonial Park. Later epidemics (including the yellow fever epidemics of 1854 and 1876) would claim thousands more lives still before new health measures introduced in the late 19th century brought many urban diseases under control.
A particularly interesting feature of Colonial Park Cemetery is its rear wall, along which dozens of headstones hang (they are at the southeastern corner of the cemetery, near the East Perry Lane entrance).
Some of the the headstones report deaths at a very remarkable old age. This is the work of vandals, who have at some point in the cemetery’s past altered the memorial inscriptions.
The vandalism is often attributed to Union soldiers, who reportedly occupied the cemetery during the Civil War, though little direct evidence of this is available.
The cemetery lay abandoned for decades after the war before the city took control of the grounds and converted them into a park. By the later years of the 19th century, it was well known as a disreputable spot and a target for vandals — this was a big part of the reason the city wanted to clean it up.
Originally, a wall enclosed the cemetery (giving it one of its several historical names, the Old Brick Cemetery). Over the years, however, so much of this wall had been lost to brick-theft, vandalism and natural decay that it had become unsightly. Most of this boundary wall was removed during the 1890s improvement of the park.
The headstones were moved at the same time: some of them because they lay in the way of new paths to be made through the park and others because they had been broken or uprooted. Placing the stones along the back wall provided a tidy, more attractive way to present the headstones without removing them altogether from the grounds.
Archibald Bulloch, 1730-1777
Archibald Stobo Bulloch was a Savannah lawyer, later US Continental Congressman and the first Provincial President Chief of Georgia. His great-great-grandson was Theodore Roosevelt.
Samuel Elbert, 1740-1788
Samuel Elbert was a Brigadier General in the Revolutionary War. He later served as Governor of Georgia and as Major General of the Georgia State Militia. Savannah’s (mostly lost) Elbert Square is named in his honor.
Elbert was originally buried at Rae’s Hall Plantation, near Savannah, together with his wife Elizabeth Rae Elbert. The grave, lost to time, was rediscovered in the early 20th century. Through the initiative of the Sons of the Revolution, Elbert’s remains were reinterred in Colonial Park Cemetery in 1924.
Nathanael Greene, 1742-1786
Nathanael Greene was a Major General in the Revolutionary War. Originally from Rhode Island, he later settled on his plantation, Mulberry Grove, near Savannah. His remains now lie beneath his monument in Johnson Square. Greene Square is named in his honor.
Button Gwinnett, 1735-1777
Button Gwinnett was Georgia’s signer of the Declaration of Independence. Originally from England, he moved to America in the 1760s, first to Charleston and then Savannah.
Meeting only with failure as a planter, he turned to politics. A political feud with Lachlan McIntosh over the leadership of an expedition to Florida proved fatal for Gwinnett. He and McIntosh duelled on May 16 1777. McIntosh was victor; Gwinnett died a few days later.
Edward Greene Malbone, 1777-1807
Edward Greene Malbone is considered America’s most accomplished painter of miniatures. He began his portait-making career at only 17, his work taking him to Providence, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston. He died of tuberculosis in Savannah at the age of only 29, a stopover on his journey home from a health-seeking trip to Jamaica.
Lachlan McIntosh, 1725-1806
Lachlan McIntosh was a Major General in the Revolutionary War. Originally from Scotland, he moved to Georgia as a child. He fought at the 1779 Siege of Savannah.
William Scarbrough, 1776-1838
William Scarbrough was a successful Savannah businessman and merchant, though ruined in the depression of 1819. He was one of the principal backers and directors of the Savannah Steamship Company, which built the SS Savannah, the first ship to cross the Atlantic under partial steam power. Scarbrough’s old house, now the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, is open to visitors.
John Joachim Zubly, 1724-1781
John Joachim Zubly was a pastor and politician. Born in Switzerland, he moved to America at the age of 20, working first in South Carolina and later at Savannah’s Independent Presbyterian Church.
First a supporter of American independence from Britain, later an opponent of the same, Zubly was expelled from Georgia in 1776. He returned to Savannah once the British regained its control, continuing to write against the revolutionaries. He was popular with neither side of the struggle for American Independence. His grave is unmarked.
Colonial Park Cemetery is administered by the City of Savannah. See the official webpage or call the cemetery department at 912-651-6843 for additional information.
Opening hours Open daily, 8am-5pm (March to November, 8am-8pm).
Admission Admission is free.
Pets Leashed pets are welcome at Colonial Park Cemetery.
Many introductory walking tours of Savannah will include some of the history of Colonial Park Cemetery. It is also a popular subject for inclusion in ghost tours (no ghost tours go inside the cemetery gates; this is prohibited by the city).
Dedicated historical tours of Colonial Park Cemetery are also occasionally offered by Savannah’s tour companies.
Currently, Segway of Savannah offers a walking history tour of Colonial Park daily at 9:30am. Adults $25, children (5-12) $15, young children (0-4) free. Call 912-233-3554 for reservations. More details
Address 201 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA 31401
GPS coordinates (north-west entrance) N 32.076154, W -081.090506
Colonial Park Cemetery is in the very center of Savannah’s Historic District, three blocks east of Bull Street’s Chippewa Square. It is bounded by Oglethorpe Avenue, Abercorn Street, Habersham Street and Perry Lane. See on map
Public transport Savannah’s free shuttle does not stop directly outside the cemetery, but has two stops (at Abercorn and Broughton Streets, and Lafayette Square – see the express shuttle route map) within a few blocks walk of either of the cemetery entrances. More about using Savannah’s public transport
Parking On-street parking is available nearby (free on weekends). The nearest covered parking garage is the State Street Parking Garage at 100 East State Street. Read more about parking options and fees in Savannah