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The Allman and Oakley Fence Fund Seeks to Protect Grave Sites

by Michael Buffalo Smith

There has been an ongoing battle in Macon, Georgia for several years now concerning the grave sites of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley at Rose Hill Cemetery. Over the course of the years, the grave sites have attracted thousands of visitors, and while most are loving fans of The Allman Brothers Band, a select few have sought to cause harm and vandalize the white marble tombs.

Besides the outright vandalism, including graffiti chiseled into the tombstones, theft of the small “angels” from the graves and much more. Just a month ago, someone broke away pieces from Duane’s name on the stone. Countless fans have made the graves their personal party spot, smoking, drinking, leaving cigarette butts, bottles and more littering the area.

There is an effort underway now to establish a fence around the grave site that would protect the graves from further vandalism while still allowing friends, fans and family to pay their respects.

“This is the resting place of Johnny's two best friends,” says Ann Sandlin, wife of famed record producer Johnny Sandlin, who produced many of The Allman Brothers Band’s early works.  “These are people with whom he shared an amazing adventure and then they left him alone too soon.  To know that some of the visitors are treating the graves as a 'tourist' attraction without giving much thought to the memories buried there just adds more pain to their passing, not only for Johnny but Candace as well. 
I've supported this project because I want Johnny and Candace (Oakley) to be able to remember the good times and not be trapped in a daily reminder of their loss and because I want this beautiful site preserved for future generations. Every day someone new discovers the music of Berry and Duane and this fence will help ensure that a hundred years from now people can stand on the viewing platform in thoughtful silence and thank two men who helped make it happen."
Rose Hill is on the National Historical Register and the plans were drawn to create a fence that will reflect the historical nature of the cemetery and yet create a fan friendly area that will be both beautiful and secure. According to Sandlin, “building this fence is a project we as fans have chosen as a way to say 'Thank you' to Duane and Berry for their music.”

"There are approximately 800 cars driving through Rose Hill every week. This means about 41,600 cars a year driving on the cemetery roads,” says Sandlin. “If even half the cars contained more than one person that would be 1,200 people a week which would translate into a minimum of 62,400 people a year. If only half that number -and we know it's higher- visited the graves, that's 31,200 people a year. Say there's only about 10 percent of those visitors who feel the need to 'live the legend' you're talking about 3,120 people" walking on top of Duane and Berry’s graves.”

The fence will provide protection for the graves while also allowing full view and a place for fans to pay their respects.

The project is being funded solely by donations from fans and friends. For information on the project and how to make a donation, visit



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