Tours

Due to the pandemic, HOCPA is unable to hold our monthly in-person tours. Instead, this page will serve as a virtual guide in hopes individuals who are able to visit the cemetery will do so and partake in their own guided tour.

July 2020 Tour

A self-guided walking or virtual tour based on the book, “The History of Oakwood Cemetery.” by Henry Perry Smith (Pub. 1871) Part One.

This is the first half of the walking tour that follows the narrative “The Tour” from the book “The History of Oakwood Cemetery” through the eyes of the author in 1871. We have included a copy of the book as a PDF file for you to read – it is posted below the tour information.

 

For those who wish to do the tour without leaving home; we have included some photos of the locations as they look today. So you can compare the views as described and presented as sketches in the book. Click here for a link to all the photographs!

 

We’ve included an outline of the 17 stops with Find A Grave links to the more interesting families so you can learn about some of the folks buried in Oakwood along the route.

 

Click on the individual’s name to be linked to their Find A Grave profile.

 

For those that want to walk the route; It will be a good walk and work out. We’ve designed it so you can bail out anytime to make it a shorter walk and pick up where you left off later.

 

We have included a copy of the book as a PDF file (posted below). Download or read it on a tablet or phone as you’re walking the tour. Need help finding spotting a grave? Pictures are provided HERE if you get stuck.

We have posted signs along the trail to guide you to each of the stops. The signs will stay up for a week.

 

  1. Benjamin Culver. Nicely carved red stone with great details. This one of only a handful of red stone monuments in the cemetery.

Section 14

  1. Harriet Danforth Lee. Daughter of Maj Asa Danforth.

Section 14 Plot 68

  1. Mather Williams MD. See sketch on page 29 of book. Great monument with a statue of Hope.

Section 14 plot 112

  1. Stephen Smith. See sketch on page 75 of book. Established Solace Salt Works and participated in the Underground Railroad helping runaway slaves with food and shelter.

Section 15 Lot 106

  1. Old Receiving Vault. Across Midland Ave looking south. It was built into the hillside across the road and was faced with Onondaga Limestone blocks. The only remaining structure is the underground vaults which can be seen through a hole in the hillside that’s been opened up by a sinkhole half way up the hill.
  2. John Green Mausoleum. See sketch on page 69 of the book. Was designed by Horatio Nelson White who also designed the Gridley Building in downtown Syracuse on Clinton and Hanover Squares. Note the inverted pilaster design is also a prominent feature in the Gridley Building.

Section 25 Lot 43

  1. Elizur Clark. One of the city’s earliest businessmen. One of the pioneers in the salt business and Banking. Note how the “Clarke” in a lot of old transcripts became “Clark” on the grave marker. Also notice the top in the FindaGrave photo is missing today.

Section 25 Lot 58

7a. Edwin Miles. Interesting carved draped obelisk. Mid 1800s draped cloth was symbol of mourning, the body has departed the death shroud, the thin veil between Heaven and earth or the partition between life and death.

Section 25 Lot 67

  1. Benjamin W Baum and Brewster family. See sketch on page 55 of book. Father of L. Frank Baum author known for “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Benjamin and Cynthia Baum had 9 children. Mr. Baum was a pioneer in the early PA oil fields. He is credited with being the first man to pipe and ship petroleum out of NW PA. He’s also credited as owning more oil wells at one time than Standard Oil.

Section 24 Lot 80

  1. Jefferson Freeman. Interesting carved marble stone.

Section 24 Lot 69

  1. Collins Family. Very interesting stone with carved medallions for each family member. Please look very closely at the fine carving. Acid rain and pollution are wearing down the details in spots.

Luke and Sarah Collins’s daughters Catherine died at age 6 mos and 17 days in 1843 and Kate died at age 3yrs and 17 days in 1834. Both were buried in Rose Hill cemetery on Lodi St near James St. When their mother Sarah died in 1863 she also was buried in Rose Hill cemetery. All 3 were moved to Oakwood Cemetery in 1868 to this family lot.

Section 27 Lot 79

10a. Loomis and Ostrander Family. Very nicely carved obelisk with interesting carved panels and curved trim.

Section 28 Lot 54

  1. Bartholomew Davis Noxon. Very nicely carved main stone. Interesting individual plot markers that have rounded edges. Mr. Noxon was a very prominent lawyer in Syracuse. They had 12 children. Mr. Noxon was struck by a train locomotive while walking on the tracks and died of his injuries.

Section 24 Lot 32

11a. VanDenburg Family. An interesting grave stone with nice raised lettering. The top piece has broken off and is resting on the ground. The top is an interesting design. Is it modeled after a lantern or lamp?

Section 24 Plot 45

11b. Zephany Merriman. This stone has unusual carvings around the upper middle area. They are very faint but look like a compass rose. Take a close look at this stone.

Section 24 Plot 53

11c. Waggoner Family Stone. A beautifully simple obelisk in scotch granite.

Section 23 Plot 43

  1. Capt William J Hunt. Very interesting military carvings on the sides. It appears the top has been knocked off. The north side of the monument appears to have a very faded and barely legible script carved on it.

Also other interesting stones in the same area of section 22; William Sharpe, Ostrom, Sweet, Truair, Spaulding.

William Malcolm. Very interesting shaped and carved stone. Great carved peaked side panels. The upper shaft has nicely carved drapery hung over knobs and other unusual details. It also looks like the top is missing.

Section 22 Plot 165

  1. Charles Keene. This is an interesting stone as its description in the book is far different than what’s there!?

Next to it on the right is the George B Parker family plot. As the book states so we are at the correct location. Take a close look at the Parker main stone and the individual stones.

Section 28 Plot 11 and Plot 14

  1. Jacob Amos. The Amos family were very active in Syracuse area in the milling business.

This is a very interesting monument that deserves a few minutes to study its details.

His son also named Jacob Amos continued in the milling business and very successful in expanding the business into Baldwinsville NY. Jacob the son was mayor of Syracuse for 2 terms in 1894 and the city prospered with road building and many large municipal projects. He’s buried in Riverview Cemetery in Baldwinsville NY

Section 37 Plot 1

There are a few other monuments worth noting as the text says as you walk down Highland Avenue; Amos Jackson and Horace P Eno.

Also the Windholz stone has a very interesting top, which the Higgins family copied a few rows directly behind Windholz!

2 more interesting sites on Highland Avenue. One of the last original section signs marking “Section 28”. Second the Hier Family plot at the end of the row. It’s a very large carved stone with wonderful designs in a running pattern on all 4 sides. George Hier was mayor of Syracuse in 1875.

At this point backtrack Highland Avenue back towards the Amos Family plot and continue up Oakland as the book describes heading towards Lake View Circle and Section 45.

  1. John Philip Hier Family plot. It’s not mentioned in the book as it wasn’t there. This monument has a wonderful carvings, interesting details and topped by a beautiful sculpture. Mr. Hier was a prominent citizen of Syracuse and had large real estate holdings around Syracuse.
  2. J. W. Barker Family plot. See sketch on page 33 of book. This marker is a very interesting design. When viewed in 1871 on that hilltop as described in the book it must have been an amazing site looking down at the city below and Onondaga Lake off in the distance. The view today is the backside of SU and ESF!

Section 45 Lot 1 and Lot 51

  1. E. Kirby Smith and J. S. Kirby Smith Marker. Father and Son veterans. Very unique stone with crossed swords carved into the top, the battles they served in marked on the sides and topped with a large stone cross.

From this location you are on one of the highest elevations in the cemetery with many views down into the interior valleys and lower hills of Oakwood Cemetery. This is about half way through the original tour in the book. We will be working on doing the second part in the near future.

It’s an easy return downhill and about a 15 min walk back to the chapel. From Lake View Circle make your way back to Oakland Avenue. Head down and turn left on to Central. Follow past George Barnes and Everson markers past the Belden Stairs. At the bottom of the hill turn right on to Midland Avenue and it’s a very short walk to the Chapel from where you started.

Our Initiatives

Highlighting Civil War Veterans

HOCPA is honoring Civil War veterans by making sure they have a marker.

Rehabilitation of the Silsbee Chapel

The 1879 mortuary chapel has been an icon in Oakwood Cemetery for well over 100 years.

Reintroduction of Rare Trees

HOCPA is participating in two projects to reintroduce historic trees to the cemetery.

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