A Place of Historical Wealth
If you are a history buff, but have become tired of the usual offerings provided by museums, historical societies and art galleries, why not try something different? The local cemetery can provide a plethora of information about long-departed, people but with a more personal flair. Not only will you see the humanity behind the famous reputation, you'll learn more about the lives of his/her family members and how they all chose to be remembered.
Although this hobby can be a daunting challenge, it certainly has its rewards. On this trip alone I learned much more about certain individuals that isn't readily available in books and other media. I was touched to learn about those who may have had an infamous reputation in life are still very much cared for in death as proven by the fresh flowers and trinkets left at the graves. Along with this new insight, I also experienced an unexpected treat. The cemetery has become a sanctuary to many wildlife creatures. To my surprise I encountered deer, wild turkeys, wild geese (Canadian and the formerly domesticated Greylag), and mallard ducks. What makes this so bizarre is the fact that Buffalo is a fairly urban city and the cemetery is situated directly in the center.
Forest Lawn Cemetery has enjoyed a rich, eternal heritage since its creation in 1849. Many notable people are buried here with additions as recent as the late Congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm who was the first African-American woman to be elected to congress. Mrs. Chisholm was laid to rest at Forest Lawn next to her husband, Arthur Hardwick, Jr., a Buffalo businessman.
Mausoleums Bearing GiftsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Artistic ExpressionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Wildlife Sanctuary CemeteryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Try It, You'll Like It
Although I experienced a few issues such getting lost (even with a map), a loss of sunlight and mounds of goose poo, it was a wonderful experience. I highly recommend taking a trek in your neighborhood cemetery. However, there are a few common sense rules you should adhere to:
- Stay off the grass. It is rude to walk on the grass since you will probably be walking on someone's grave. If you must walk up to the grave, walk in between grave plots. This way you do not desecrate someone's resting place. NOTE: If while you are visiting you see mourners at a grave, be courteous of their privacy by not advancing until they have cleared out. After all, they are there to respect to their loved ones.
- Be mindful of other traffic. Joggers, animals and other cemetery visitors will also be present. Be careful to drive extremely slowly and cautiously.
- Do not overstay your welcome. I am guilty of this. The photo of the gate was taken while the caretaker was in the process of closing it. I felt a bit like a heel.
- Be respectful. Do not feed the animals, it will make them sick. Do not litter or drive off the pathway.
Notables and Oddities
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