VISIT OAKWOOD

Grounds: Open everyday
of the year Dawn to Dusk 

Office: 9am-12pm  1pm-4pm
Monday - Friday 

Oakwood Cemetery 

763 Portage Road
Niagara Falls, NY 14301 

Office/Fax: 716.284.5131 

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Monday
Feb292016

Oak What?  

This article appeared in NiagaraHub.com

Click to enlargeNIAGARA FALLS, NY  (Oakwood Cemetery) - What do Whitney Avenue, Cudaback Avenue, Gaskill Middle School, Trott Vocational High School, Oppenheim Park, and Three Sister Islands all have in common?  How about Pierce Avenue, Porter, Packard, Jerauld, Mckenna, Haeberle and Hyde Park?  Give up?

Their namesakes are all resting in Oakwood Cemetery on Portage Road.  Hundreds of cars drive by daily, and yet most people don’t give the site a single thought.  They see Tops across the street, or the Trott building housing the DMV.  They might even stop at Arby’s for a sandwich.  Meanwhile Oakwood sits silently across the street, holding its secrets.  But to unlock the secrets all you have to do is visit.  If you ever get the chance, drive through the gates and into Niagara Falls history.  Oakwood is about to celebrate it's 161st birthday.  On February 9, 1852 a group of subscribers to the new cemetery got together to incorporate Oakwood. 

Originally on the outskirts of the village, (Niagara Falls or “the Village of Manchester” ended at Pine and 10th) Oakwood was in the middle of farm land, and not that easy to get to.  The Town of Niagara made up the rest of the area.  As the village grew around the cemetery, and eventually became the city of Niagara Falls, the Town of Niagara retained two of the eighteen and a half acres inside the fences.   To give you an idea of the size of the cemetery, if you drew a line south to Pine Avenue from our furthest northwest fence, then south from our furthest eastern fence, the property would be run from just east of 10th Street, to George’s Appliance or Levy Brothers. 

So what’s with all the names?  Well, Parkhurst Whitney is buried here.  He was the owner of the Cataract House, a prominent hotel right down by the Falls.  His daughters, Celinda, Angelina, and Asenath Whitney are all buried here as well.  They are the sisters in Three Sisters Islands.  Charles B. Gaskill is here, so is J.F. Trott, both prominent businessmen, both have schools named after them.  Max Oppenheim is in the E.B. Green designed Mausoleum.  Charles Hyde is in there as well.  Both donated lands to become parks.  Hyde Park is still one of the largest municipal parks in New York State outside of Central Park in New York City.  The Porter family are here, (we can write an entire book on their history).  Gad Pierce is here as well.  He had one of the first Taverns in town.

Come visit them when you’re downtown.  Get out and walk around, you will almost forget you are in the middle of the city.  Oakwood may hold Niagara’s historical secrets, but its willing to tell you all you want to know if you just come for a visit.       

Friday
Feb052016

Black History Month

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (Oakwood Cemetery) - Niagara's history is at Oakwood!  R. Nathaniel Dett is perhaps one of the most accomplished African American composers of his time.  He and his family lived in Niagara Falls and spent time on both sides of the border.  He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Niagara Falls, ONT, while his Father, Robert Dett is buried in Oakwood.  

The music is may sound different to today's ear, but time has not diminished it's beauty.  To hear more R. Nathaniel Dett compositions click here.

Monday
Feb012016

Unknown Stories of WNY - Homan Walsh

Thank you to Pete Gallivan and WGRZ-TV for telling the story of Homan Walsh.

Posted by Oakwood Cemetery Association on Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday
Jan042016

To Honor Heroic Deeds

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Recently a very precious medal of solid gold, about two inches in diameter, was discovered by someone in southern Illinois.  Photographs were posted on a Civil War website and it was requested that someone give more information.  My heart raced when I saw this…not for the gold…but for the sentiment behind this artifact of Niagara Falls history.  For this beautiful Tiffany and Company medal was a remembrance of one of Niagara’s finest men, Col. Peter A. Porter.

The medal originally was struck in honor of the five men who were present at the Battle of Cold Harbor back in June of 1864.  This medal, in particular, (found in Illinois) had been presented to John Morris Duff of Hartland, New York.  He and the four others served with the 8th Heavy Artillery during the Civil War in one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on American soil.  Col. Porter, who was beloved by all of his men, for his humanity and courage, was killed and his body left behind enemy lines.  In a moment of bravery, five of his men volunteered to retrieve his body–all while under fire.  They were able to bring his body back and because of these men Col. Peter A. Porter was returned to Niagara Falls and his body respectfully laid to rest behind the gates of the Porter family plot at Oakwood Cemetery.  Another of Oakwood’s residents, LeRoy Williams, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his involvement in this very feat.

Following the war, the very exclusive Century Club of New York City, of which Col. Porter was a member, presented these men with these special engraved medals.  Below are images of the medal struck for John Morris Duff.

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At present the monetary value of this work of art is unknown, but to those of us who know the story behind the man, Col. Peter A. Porter, and those who served beside him, this is priceless.

Monday
Dec142015

Wreaths Across America 2015

NIAGARA FALLS, NY  (Oakwood Cemetery) - The Wreaths Across America was well recieved and attended.  The remembrance was held Saturday December 12 at noon, to coincide with the National ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.  Oakwood received almost 200 wreaths, a far cry from the 25 wreaths we got for our first ceremony 4 years ago.  

Click to --> See more on our picture page.

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