Monday, April 19, 2010

Crematorium Daffodil Brunch

Yesterday turned out to be quite a bit different than usual. For nearly 25 years, my Sunday morning is a ritual. Put on the coffee, get comfortable, and do the Sunday crossword puzzle while I watch the Sunday news programs.

At Easter dinner, my friends and I had agreed to attend the annual fundraiser held to support the maintenance of the very large, historic Oakwood Cemetery in Troy,NY.

The daffodil brunch was held in the Crematorium dating back to 1888. After eating, we meandered through the cemetery which took us an hour to get to the end, and another hour back. It is a lot bigger than I realized!

This post is a good, short bit of history about the area where I live now. Mostly pictures so it isn't too overwhelming.

Come on along with me as I explore!

When you first enter the grounds, you come to the crematorium with its amazing architecture. The building has a lot of tiffany stained glass windows and recently received a new $1M roof.

As I approached, other brunchers had arrived and already started to line up. There are classic cars parked in front and they gave rides around the cemetery in them after we ate.

The gargoyle.

I'm standing under a large bell on a hill to take this photo.

When I pulled back to take this next shot, it looks like the bell and its support columns are next to the crematorium in the background and equal to it in size. The hill with daffodils appears to be the front lawn.

The bell was originally erected in 1893 by Levinus Van Derheyden. This area was settled by the Dutch (the Albany Tulip Festival is coming up soon) and the lake near my house is also named after the Van Derheydens.

We ate in a beautiful room with two large stained glass windows just off the main room where memorial services are held. Behind a door next to our table, there was an actual crematory oven. However, it hasn't been used in a long time. Cremations now take place in an adjacent building.

About noon we started our walk. Our first destination was to find the place where Uncle Sam is buried. As in "Uncle Sam Wants You" which came out of the War of 1812. Troy is know as 'The Home of Uncle Sam' and takes much pride in this heritage. Compared to the many other monuments in the cemetery, his is rather small and nondescript.

There are so many really large burial buildings. During the late 1800's, Troy was a huge industrial hub and they say there were more millionaire living here at the time than in Chicago. And imagine how rich you'd be with $1M way back then!

This is the building for George Tibbits who died in 1849 and his family. He is a former Mayor of Troy and U.S. Congressman. On my way to see my Mom, I drive through the Tibbits National Forest, an area of woods set aside and named in his honor.

About half way, we kept hearing this unusual bird call. It turned out to be a red headed woodpecker. Can you see the back of its red head at the center of the pic?

Oakwood Cemetery is popular with bird watchers and those interested in trees. Many non-indigenous species have been planted on the grounds. I think this is a magnolia. Readers?

The Cohoes Falls are front and center in the next photo. The west-to-east flowing Mohawk River meets the north-to-south flowing Hudson River at this point through a series of falls and locks from the Erie Canal.

Cohoes is known as "Spindle City" because they used to produce thread for the textile industry during the Industrial Revolution. It was profitable with an abundance of cheap hydroelectric power.

Troy, nicknamed "The Collar City" because it is where the shirt collar was first invented at Cluett Peabody, took the thread from Cohoes and fashioned it into clothes.

Here is a nicely carved anchor. Notice the freemasons symbol carved into the front of the stone. It is indicative of the time, and many stones here feature it.

We thought this unusual building reminded us of a pagoda.

There was an unusual construct made into a hillside and surrounded by heavy iron chains.

We started to get silly when we spotted the Arms...

...then a Hartt...

...and then a Body.

Finally, here is a view of downtown Albany, NY looking SSW. The Helderberg Escarpment can be seen behind the city. The Catskill Mountains are further south.


Mom said...

Beautiful pictures. I love old cemeteries. They are full of wonderful stories and bits of history.

Jenn said...

I love these pics! The old cemeteries tell us so much about our history...good for you for supporting this effort!

ArichNY said...

Great post and great pictures! Very nice!!!