Sunday, September 25, 2011

Egyptian Influence

Built into a hillside, the Brinckerhoff-Pumpelly vault brings a bit of Ancient Egypt to a secluded path in the Albany Rural Cemetery.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Faithful Family Friend

One of a pair of beautiful dogs keeps watch over the crypt of the Burden family.

The vault was built for Henry Burden, a prominent Troy industrialist whose ironworks were powered by one of the largest waterwheels ever built. The open marble book seen in the background of this photo bears long epitaphs honoring Henry and his wife, Helen. It's said that Helen Burden designed this elegant vault herself and that the female face above its door is her likeness.

The Burden crypt is set into a slope of the Cemetery's Middle Ridge and overlooks the Chapel. It's also said that the Burdens chose this location for their tomb because of its view across the Hudson River where the Burden Ironworks could be seen on clear days.

The dogs, a pair of retrievers, were no doubt based on family pets. While they may seem identical when viewed from the ground, each one is slightly different when seen up close.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wooster's Hope

Standing atop an ivy-carved octagonal pedestal, this figure - representing "Hope" with a finger pointed toward Heaven and an anchor at her side - marks the family plot of Benjamin W. Wooster.

Wooster's handsome mansion at 1 Englewood Place (the northwest corner of Washington Park at State Street) recently sold at auction.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Angel Is In The Details

I've passed this monument many times in the past. Located in a high plot overlooking the stream that divides the South and Middle Ridges, its ornate white marble design catches one's eye.

However, until recently, I'd never climbed the dilapidated marble steps nearby to take a close look and I simply didn't realize just how detailed this headstone is. It features inverted torches embellished with stylized floral bands, garlands of roses, clasped hands, classical columns, a Sacred Heart motif on the back, and a Gothic quatrefoil.

But my favorite detail is definitely the angel leaning gracefully - almost casually - against the top of the monument.

This monument marks the graves of Jacob Henry, a partner in a local stoneware pottery business, and his wife, Mary Ann.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Cameo Role

Fans of actor Jack Nicholson may recognize this vault from the film Ironweed. Part of the movie was filmed in both the Rural Cemetery and neighboring Saint Agnes Cemetery. Though the scene is actually set in the latter, the two cemeteries are used interchangeably.

This vault is set into a hillside just below the western end of the Middle Ridge and overlooks the Townsend family plot along the creek known as Moordenaer's Kill. The vault's carved sandstone cross was dislodged from the roof years ago and the broken remnants of it rest on the vault's steps now. Originally, the vault was guarded by a pair of cast iron lions, but these are long vanished. It was built for John De Peyster Douw.