Nothing could exceed the order and decorum with which everything was done.
---The Albany Argus, October 8, 1844
It was one hundred and seventy years ago today that the Albany Rural Cemetery was consecrated. The event was marked with a great deal of ceremony; a procession of dignitaries, civic organizations, and "a great concourse" of private citizens made their way from North Pearl Street to the new Cemetery where the dedication took place in a glen just below Consecration Lake. That section now overgrown and forgotten but once considered one of the Cemetery's finest attractions.
It had taken three years from the formation of the Albany Cemetery Association to the opening of the new Cemetery grounds. During this time, several other sites were considered for the Cemetery, but there were obstacles to obtaining them.
The ceremony - which began at nine in the morning and didn't end until half past three - was reported on in great detail by the local newspapers, including the Argus which printed the full text of several hymns written for the occasion, Reverend Doctor Pohlman's readings, and Alfred B. Street's poem. They did not immediately reprint Daniel Dewey Barnard's lengthy dedication speech, but published it a day later and it can be found in Henry Phelp's The Albany Rural Cemetery - Its Beauties, Its Memories.
The Argus concluded the account by noting the weather which seems to have been quite like this morning's.
The weather was not at all that could have been desired – the sky being overcast and threatening rain. The grounds in consequence did not appear in all their beauty – but none who visited them could fail to be impressed with the adaptation of the place to the purposes to which it is to be sacredly devoted. Many, we presume, visited it for the first time yesterday – but few we presume will not omit an opportunity to re-visit in. We hope soon to see the walks and carriage-ways laid out, and a beginning made towards converting this retired and inviting spot into a general place of burial.
Below: The gate mentioned in the advertisement above. It was erected some time after the dedications and was later replaced with the current gates which were designed by Marcus T. Reynolds.