Soaking Up Autumn Among The Dearly Departed in the Historic Oakwood Cemetery

Monday, October 23, 2023

 Some people dislike cemeteries.  They find them creepy and sad.  I find them serene and sacred.  I also find them to be a good reminder.....cemeteries are filled with people who thought they had more time.

The Oakwood Cemetery in Troy NY, was the subject of a blog back in 2019 when we first stumbled upon it, also in the stunning golden light of autumn. Some of you may have read that piece, but for those who did not, let me give you a little cemetery history.

Founded in 1848, Oakwood Cemetery  (a nonsectarian cemetery) was designed by Philadelphia engineer, John C. Sidney with the help of Garnett Douglass Baltimore, the first African American to earn a degree from RPI.    The 352 acre property is long and thin, running north and south along Oakwood Avenue in Lansingburgh.  Although Sidney was the engineer, it was John Boetchner who gave Oakwood its charm.  Boetchner incorporated rare and foreign plants to fill the rolling hills and flowing lawns making it look more like a beautiful park than a cemetery.  The cemetery features four man-made lakes, two residential structures, a chapel, a crematorium, 24 mausoleums, about 60,000 graves and about 29 miles of winding roads throughout the cemetery.  Yes...29 miles!

While Oakwood is the resting place for a number of notable people, perhaps the most well known is Uncle Sam, Samuel Wilson.  Other notables include educators Amos Eaton and Emma Willard, financiers and business leaders George M. Phelps and Russell Sage, community founders Abraham Lansing and Jacob Vanderheyden, and civil war heroes Rice C. Bull, Joseph Bradford Carr, William H. Freeman, George H. Thomas, and John Ellis Wool.  Fourteen members of the House of Representatives are also buried here. The largest structure on the property is the Gardner Earl Chapel and Crematorium. The chapel's namesake, Gardner Earl, was the son of a wealthy Troy shirt collar maker, William S. Earl.   I wrote about the chapel later in 2019  Another of the cemetery's beautiful structures is the Warren Chapel, featured in this story:

Enough words!  The focus of today's post is the beauty and grandeur of this beautiful, historic resting place of famous and ordinary local folk.  Beautiful in every season, but especially in the golden hue of autumn.  

For more information about Oakwood Cemetery, located at 186 Oakwood Avenue in Troy, NY, visit the cemetery website:  For a real treat, check out their events including a Sounds of the Season Holiday Concert on December 9th from 1:00-2:00 pm in the Gardner Earl Chapel.    If you've never considered visiting a cemetery that's not the resting place of a family member or friend, let Oakwood be your first experience.  Be sure to use the links provided above to see the inside of both the Gardner Earl Chapel and the Warren Chapel.  You'll be amazed at the beauty!  I just learned that there will be two tours of the Gardner Earl Chapel the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend at 1:00 and 2:30 pm.  Tickets are $10  pp paid in advance at the Oakwood office. 518- 328- 0090. Limited to 30 people per tour, these are likely to sell out quickly.  As always share with a friend and if you like this blog, consider subscribing to receive new stories in your email.  Subscribe

No comments

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Life As I See It Header

Never Miss A Post - Follow by Email

Sign up here to get the latest blog post delivered to your inbox.
Never miss a post again!