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Know Your Garden’s pH.

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (Oakwood Cemetery) - Spring is here!  Home gardeners are anxiously awaiting the time to plant flowers and vegetables.  While it’s a little too early to plant because the danger of frost and cold ground temperatures can take a toll on new annual plantings, it’s a perfect time to test your garden soil.

The Oakwood Cemetery Garden and Landscape Committee invites you to a hands-on garden workshop to test your garden soil for acidity, or pH.  The free, “Soil Testing Workshop” takes place on Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 10 AM to Noon at Oakwood Cemetery, 763 Portage Rd., Niagara Falls, NY 14301.  Free on-site parking is available.

Participants are asked to bring a soil sample from the garden bed where they wish to plant.  Using a shovel, dig down about 6 inches and take about a tablespoon of soil from 4 – 5 sites in the garden.  Mix the soil in a baggie and be sure the soil is dry.  Label the bag with your name and the usual plants grown in this site such as:  annual flowers (lasting only one year), perennials (lasting multiple years), or vegetables.  Bring the baggie with you for testing.

Master Gardeners and other skilled gardeners will assist you with your soil test and answer questions about your garden.

For more information, please call the Oakwood Cemetery office: (716) 284-5131 or go to:


Niagara’s History is at Oakwood.



Niagara Falls City Historian, Michelle KrattsNIAGARA FALLS, NY  (Oakwood Cemetery) - The phrase, "Niagara's History is at Oakwood" has never rung truer than tonight!

Oakwood Cemetery is pleased to congratulate our good friend, Michelle Kratts on being named the City Historian of Niagara Falls, NY by Mayor Paul Dyster. Michelle follows in some mighty footsteps of previous Historians and will be a great ambassador for the City's stories.

Michelle is a local author and has been involved with several publications, including "The Missed", "Haunted, True Tales of Niagara", "Buon Appetito" a book of Italian American restaurateurs in Niagara Falls, NY along with  recipes. Kratts writes for the prestigious Western New York Heritage Magazine.  She has also written extensively for the Oakwood Cemetery's website and her works are consistently the top articles read on our site.  Michelle's passion for finding the full story will be a great asset for the city. As an author and genealogist, Michelle can take a shred of evidence and track it down, finding all the facts, then turn it into an item of interest for the general public.  

Kratts, just recently was awarded a Masters Degree in Library Science and is a librarian/genealogist at the Lewiston Public Library.  She lives in Niagara Falls, NY with her husband and 3 children and several assorted animals.


Spring is here for Oakwood: 4th Annual “Bird Walk” and “Beautify Oakwood”

The 4th Annual “Bird Walk” at the historic Oakwood Cemetery, 763 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, NY will be held at 8 AM on two consecutive Saturdays:  May 2 and May 9.

photo by Dave Young

Free and open to the public, birders are asked to meet at the Oakwood House to register and pick-up a free “Migrating Birds of Niagara Checklist”.  Please bring binoculars and cameras; wear weather appropriate clothing with comfortable shoes.  Free parking and open restrooms are available on site.

Whitney Mallam, president of the Oakwood Cemetery Association board of directors and chair of the event, invites interested persons to join him on the two special outings: “I look forward to sharing this experience with other birders and nature lovers.  Our historic, mid-19th century, 18 acre site is a jewel in the center of the city.  It’s truly an out-of-doors museum and the migrating birds enhance its beauty.” 

A breath of fresh air, this unique experience is a delight!  While strolling the historic lanes in the early morning light, today’s birders will come upon wonderful sightings - rolling landscape and birds from as far away as South America make their spring migration up the east coast of the United States.  Many resting sites can be found in Western New York and, for some, summer nesting places.  Oakwood Cemetery, with prime vegetation and habitation, is one of these sites. 

Following the “Bird Walk”, and as part of the Niagara Beautification Commission (NBC) “Beautify Niagara”, individual volunteers and groups will organize at Oakwood House.  Chaired by Trudy Christman, “Beautify Oakwood” will include:  Congressman Higgins’ staff, AARP #283, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to name a few.  “Oakwood Beautifiers” are asked to bring their own trash-collecting tools.

The NBC, the City of Niagara Falls and the Seneca Niagara Casino will provide a kick off breakfast at 8 AM, trash bags and gloves, and a “Volunteer: Thank You Lunch” at noon at the John Duke Senior Center, 1201 Hyde Park Blvd.,  Niagara Falls, NY.

For more information and photos of past events, please go to Oakwood Cemetery’s website:

To register for events, please call:  (716) 284-5131


From the pages of Orrin E. Dunlap's Scrapbook

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (Oakwood Cemetery) - On a recent trip to the Niagara Falls Public Library - Local History Dept. Michelle Kratts discovered several Oakwood related items in Orrin E. Dunlap's scrapbook.  Here are just a few of the remarkable items.  

How strange is destiny!

How remarkable that two Englishmen should leave their mother country and cross the Atlantic ocean –one in search of Pleasure, the other restless for Fame, but both to find graves in the same cemetery in a foreign city—resting so closely in the burial place, where laid 52 years apart that were it possible they might sleep in each other’s arms as well as in the grasp of Death that came to them and their souls fled to Eternity so they took the water route from Niagara Falls to Lewiston—one on June 10, 1831, the other July 24, 1883. Under the flat stone lies Francis Abbott; under the modern monument rests Captain Matthew Webb, who swam the English Channel, but who surrendered life to the Whirlpool Rapids of Niagara.

Grave of Francis Abbott

The Cemetery Association made an appropriation of $30. For masonry and a slab. On this slab it is recorded the Hermit died June 10, 1831. All Nature united in making the water and foliage about the Falls most glorious. His soul took flight to Heaven in the Spray Cloud. Could Abbott, fascinated as he was with sublime Niagara, have wished better?

His (Abbott's) guitar, that beguiled so many of his solitary hours, and soothed him in his sorrows, is still preserved as a curiosity, and may be seen at Mr. Hooker’s shop in the village of Niagara Falls.—Parson’s Guide, 1836.

Judge Theodore T. G. Hullett and his Valet

Judge Hullett designed and , with his own hands, built the Old Iron Basket used on the cableway of the footbridge erected across the Niagara Gorge in 1848.


Canadians want Goat Island!

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (Oakwood Cemetery) - In a surprising move, a small group of our neighbors to the north have set up camp on Goat Island in Niagara Falls, NY and claimed it as rightful property of the Candian government.  "If anyone would take the time to read the fine print in the Treaty of Ghent, you would clearly see the International Border leaves Goat Island in the Canadian Province of Onatario", said group spokesman Thomas Shackleford.  "We just want what is rightfully ours", he continued.  At the moment the group of eighteen or so people are on the west end of the Island in the middle of what is the New York State Parks parking lot. 

New York State Parks Police are at the scene of the encampment, but have been warned not to enter the "Sovereign Land of Canada" without the United States Ambassador.  "It is our intent to take the whole island, once we convince the New Yorkers to leave", Shackleford said.  State Parks Police Lieutenant William Adams seemed nonplussed by the whole situation.  "They've been peaceful and polite.  Aside from the ocassional whiff of back bacon and maple syrup, they have kept to themselves".  

UPDATE:  It looks like the invasion has ended peacefully.  As the group was leaving Shackleford was heard mumbling something about an April Fool prank.