Niagara Gazette

Opinion

July 15, 2013

HIGGS: An elegant evening at Oakwood

Niagara Gazette — Some interesting events are coming up at Oakwood Cemetery this summer that I want to pass along to you.

Oakwood is one of the oldest cemeteries in Western New York. The land was donated in 1852 by Lavinia Porter, daughter of Augustus Porter, one of the founders of Niagara Falls. Oakwood is a public cemetery owned and operated by the Oakwood Cemetery Association under the direction of its local board of directors. Oversight is provided by the state Division of Cemeteries through the state’s Cemetery Board. Its role is to oversee the establishment, maintenance and preservation of burial grounds for all not-for-profit cemeteries in New York state.

History abounds at Oakwood, the original landscape design dates from 1852 by world-renowned civil engineer TD Judah of Transcontinental Railroad fame. Further improvements were made in 1882 by local Civil Engineer Drake Whitney. He was the nephew of Celinda, Angelina and Asenath Whitney, daughters of General Parkhurst Whitney of Niagara Falls, who also founded and operated the Cataract House Hotel back in 1810. The Three Sisters Islands, accessible from Goat Island, were named for Gen. Parkhust Whitney’s daughters and have recently undergone a renovation by the State Parks. The sisters and their father are all buried at Oakwood Cemetery.

An Aug. 3 event, Oakwood Cemetery “Celebrates 100 Years of the E.B. Green Mausoleum: Angels of Oakwood” fundraiser, will highlight the mausoleum, which was designed by E.B. Green, a major architect in New York, who was active in the Buffalo area from 1881 to the early 1930s. Over 160 buildings designed by Green survive today. Niagara Falls is fortunate to have one of only two mausoleums he designed. It is located in Oakwood Cemetery.

The mausoleum will be re-dedicated in honor of its 100th year anniversary during a “turn-of-the 20th Century” evening which includes a guided tour of the cemetery, a reception inside the mausoleum, re-dedication of the mausoleum, and an elegant dinner. Our own U. S. Congressman Brian Higgins will be present as the featured speaker.

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