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The Albany Rural Cemetery was established October 7, 1844, in Colonie, New York, United States, just outside the city of Albany, New York. It is renowned as one of the most beautiful, pastoral cemeteries in the U.S., at over 400 acres (1.6 km2). Many historical American figures are buried there.
On April 2, 1841, an association was formed to bring the cemetery into being. A committee of the association selected the site on April 20, 1844. The cemetery originally contained 100 acres (0.40 km2). This portion was consecrated October 7, 1844. Daniel D. Barnard delivered the dedication address, which was one of many given at rural cemeteries across the northeast in the years from Justice Joseph Story's address at Mount Auburn Cemetery in 1831 to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in 1863. The first interment was made in May, 1845. Located near the entrance is the Louis Menand House.
David Bates Douglass, a military and civilian engineer, working in the capacity as a consulting architect, designed the landscape layout of Albany Rural Cemetery, between 1845-1846. He modeled his design of the Albany Rural Cemetery, as well as his subsequent and final one, Mount Hermon Cemetery, in a rural area outside of Quebec City, Canada East, upon his first design, the highly acclaimed Green-Wood Cemetery, in what at the time was a rural section of Brooklyn. All three of Douglass' garden cemeteries have been conferred a historic status, by their respective jurisdictions.
In 1868, bodies from other cemeteries were removed and reinterred in Albany Rural Cemetery.
William Learned Marcy (1786-1857) - American statesman, who served as U.S. Senator, Governor of New York, U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Secretary of State. His monument is in Lot 94, Section 62. When he died in 1857, relatives recalled that Marcy "frequently expressed the wish to be buried where he had spent so much time in reading and in contemplation".
Erastus Dow Palmer (1817-1904) - World-renowned sculptor, is buried in Lot 15, Section 34. He worked in an Albany studio producing statuary and portrait busts for many years before he died in 1904. He produced two statues which are displayed at the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.; the Robert Livingston Statue and "Peace in Bondage". Several of Mr. Palmer's works adorn markers at the cemetery, one of which is titled "The Angel at the Sepulchre", located in Lot 1, Section 31, or the Banks plot. Palmer also designed the granite monument at the grave of William Learned Marcy, U.S. Senator and three-term Governor of New York.
Franklin Townsend (1821-1898) - A 19th-century industrialist, active in his family's iron business which was a branch of the Stirling Iron Works, the maker of the Hudson River Chain that prevented the British Royal Navy from sailing up the Hudson River during the American Revolutionary War. He was active in Albany politics, serving as an alderman and one term as mayor of the city. He served as adjutant general of the state of New York from 1869-1873 and is interred along with his wife.
John Van Buren (1810-1866) - son of President Martin Van Buren, is buried in lot 28, section 62. John Van Buren, a handsome attorney known as "Prince John", died at sea on October 13, 1866, while on the voyage from Liverpool to New York. His grave in Lot 28, Section 62 is marked by an Italian marble cross.
Two monuments within this cemetery incorporate works in bronze by the sculptor Oscar Lenz. Lenz created The Angel of The Resurrection and frieze on the Parsons family monument, as well as the relief of a seated warrior receiving a bouquet of poppies from the Angel of Death on George Porter Hilton's mausoleum.
Angel sculpture by Oscar Lenz on Parsons family marker
Hamilton family cross
Graves family marker
Oscar Lenz sculpture on the Hilton mausoleum, owners of Hilton Bridge & Construction Company.
^Cox, Rob S.; Heslip, Philip; LaPlant, Katie D. (July 2017) . "Finding aid for David Bates Douglass Papers, 1812--1873" (1,191 items). M-1390, M-2294, M-2418, M-2668, M-5038, M-6083. David Bates Douglass. Ann Arbor: Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. Retrieved . Returning to engineering and consulting work, Douglass laid out the Albany Rural Cemetery in 1845-46 and the Protestant cemetery in Quebec in 1848, both in the style of Greenwood Cemetery. In August 1848, he moved to Geneva College (now Hobart)...