I’ve been noticing the amount of gray days we’ve been having here in Buffalo. I wanted to make a point to show you that even on the grayest days of winter, even when there’s no sunshine or snow to brighten things up, you can still find beauty in our city. You just have to look for it. This post is a compilation of photos I took during two different urban hikes at Forest Lawn, on two gray days in January. The sun peeked out for a short time on one of the hikes. But I’d have never noticed it had I stayed inside that day. It didn’t last long!
Walking around, I was stunned because it was beautiful here amid the gray skies. There were no spring blooms, no summer greenery, no fall colors, not even a fresh coat of snow. Serene. Not city-like at all. There’s been a lot of talk around town about so many gray days strung together here in Buffalo. Make the most of these days anyway. I heard a quote once that was similar to this, “if you choose not to find joy in the winter, the winter will still come, but you will have less joy in your life”. What do you choose? I choose joy.
Also, I’ve gotten a handful of emails from readers who, for several different reasons, cannot take the hikes I so enjoy. Driving is allowed in Forest Lawn, so…enjoy my friends!
The memorials that people erect to their loved ones never cease to amaze me.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed this one, called Blue Sky Mausoleum. He designed it for the Darwin Martin family, but it was never built for them because the Martins lost much of their fortune in the stock market crash in 1929. This was added to the cemetery much later using Wright’s design.
There’s just something about this angel. And check out that blue sky!
Birds in flight, and a tribute to Darwin D. Martin. There is something very touching about Timothy Switala’s stone…he was loved.
An opera composer
Famous Buffalonian, singer/songwriter…
Oh the views!
Some Buffalo names you’ll recognize. Pierce, Birge, McFarland, Knox, Letchworth, Goodyear…etc,
Hearts, cats and rabbits
Prince Kyril Scherbatow, a Russian Prince and Godson of Czar Nicholas II – and his Buffalo Born Princess!
This one is ethereal. It’s just gorgeous.
It all comes down to love, doesn’t it? I mean, let’s face it. Some of these memorials were built to impress. But most show an outpouring of love for people who have gone before us.
Think about this, people travel to New Orleans to see their famous cemeteries. I’ve been to some there. Forest Lawn is every bit as interesting, but so much more beautiful. The landscaping and the rolling hills make it beautiful here all year round. Even in the dull, gray days of winter. A beautiful and peaceful final resting place to be sure. In the center of the city, it is serene.
If you haven’t been to Forest Lawn Cemetery in the winter, give it a try. It might just lift your spirits during these gray winter days.
When you go, you can use your smartphone to hear stories about well-known people buried here. Simply go to Forest Lawn’s website, and follow the prompts for self-guided tours.
Growing up in Buffalo, I used to ride my bike and walk through Forest Lawn many, many times. I was intrigued by all the headstones and monuments and loved the serenity. Once my friend Vicky and I stopped at the Crematorium and went inside and saw all the memorials and urns. We were given a tour of the crematorium which was so interesting. I will never forget that. I have always been fascinated by cemeteries and have visited many in my trips to Ireland too. Always so interesting.
Serenity is the perfect word to describe Forest Lawn! I’ve never thought to go to the crematorium, but I’ll have to see if they’ll let me in. Went to one cemetery in Ireland too – fascinating! Thank you for reading!
Very nice pictorial. Thanks Ellen. As close as I lived near to it, I have never really gone though Forrest Lawn cemetery. I know a lot of people do on a regular basis. I have a friend who lives pretty much across the street and she is always in there taking pictures and sharing them with us. A good number of her pictures include the many wild deer that roam about the grounds. She even spotted and photographed a rare white deer. I look forward to your next article.
We did see deer during one of our two recent visits, but didn’t get photos. Also, I’m sorry to report that the albino deer passed away last summer…that deer is missed by so many! Thank you for the kind words and for reading John!
Thank you for giving us ex Buffalonian’s the pictures of Forest Lawn; there is nothing like this in SanDiego
I’m so glad you enjoyed it Herb, thank you for reading!
Ellen, I love your style of writing and enjoy all your adventures. I know longer live in Buffalo, but I enjoy being reminded of its beauty, especially the architecture. I can tell you a little about the little girl on the island. The intent was to create a place to mourn for anyone who lost a child, perhaps without a grave. It was donated by my father in law Laurence R. Goodyear who dearly loved Forest Lawn and devoted much time to serving on its Board. There are benches around the pond. He felt there was a need for such a spot in the cemetery as families sometimes suffer a loss without a specific place to grieve. It has always touch me with its simplicity and beauty.
Dale Eddolls Goodyear
Thanks so much for the info! I knew the story of why it’s there, but I didn’t know it was donated by Laurence Goodyear! It’s a very powerful sculpture to be sure. Glad you are enjoying the blog!
Hi Dale its Skip. My wife is in Forest Lawn – that’s how I found this site. Here in Hobe Sound FL they call me Harold.
What a magnificent spot and fabulous photographs. It is really one of Bufallo’s many treasures!
Glad you enjoyed it Bill, it sure is a treasure!
Loved taking a sentimental trip thru Forest Lawn so many beautiful monuments i miss my beautiful city thanks for the tour
You are welcome! Glad you enjoyed it, thank you for reading!
Did Dale go to Bennett
when I was going to Canisius in the early 1970 we used to go and sit around the lake and study. One day we looked up at the Letchworth mausoleum and the door was open. They were repairing the lock on the door. We walked up and asked if we could look inside. I remember the marble pillars and stairs going down to the crypt. The guy closed the door on us and I let go with a scram that could have woke the dead! Pitch dark in a burial crypt. OMG I’ll never forget it.
That is an amazing story! I’d have screamed too! Wonder if the workman could hear you? I was fascinated by the Letchworth mausoleum from the first time I saw it! Thanks for sharing your story, it’s one of my favorites of all the comments I’ve ever received on a post!
I recently shared a post on Facebook on Dorothy Berlin’s (Irvine Berlin’s first wife) grave site at Forest Lawn….https://www.facebook.com/groups/productofthewestside/permalink/10160679965401124/
I loved the post. I didn’t know she was a Buffalonian! Thank you for sharing!
As a high school student in the ’60s I wrote a paper on Forest Lawn. Spent many hours searching out articles on microfiche at the old Erie County Library. I am positive I came across a smallish tombstone with the following inscription: He outlived his rich wife. Sometimes I think I must have imagined it but not the type of thing one would imagine at 18. Have never been able to find it again in later years.
I’ve never heard of it, but wouldn’t that be great to see!? Thanks for reading, and for taking the time to tell your story.
Dear Ellen thank you so much for the beautiful article. I am the local artist that created so many of the memorials you have shown here. Darwin Martin, Switala, The Bronze tree, and Colson are all my creations. You have expressed perfectly the intentions for making this work. Yes sometimes it is to impress but mostly it is a sacred trust to create a lasting symbol or feeling that holds true to the Families intention on how they want to honor their loved one . Again Thank you.
How wonderful to hear from the artist himself! Your work is amazing and appreciated by so many! It is people like you who make our walks through a cemetery peaceful, soulful journeys. I am happy that you agree with my thoughts and understand why people choose such elaborate resting places for their beloved family members. You are obviously the right person to create these beautiful memorials. Thank you for reading my work, I will have to head over to Forest Lawn again soon. Please keep doing what you’re doing.
William – Thank you for creating so many of the memorials pictured here. I was searching the web for anything I could find regarding Tim Switala, my good friend and mentor. We had many good times at UB, circa 1980. I drew many cartoons and wrote some reviews for The Spectrum student newspaper. Tim was the music editor of The Progidal Sun which was a section of The Spectrum published on Fridays. Anyway, I had been thinking about Tim lately so I wanted to see what might be “out there” with regard to him. I’m so glad I found this website. I also found Tim’s obituary on another website.
Ellen – I don’t know you but I want to thank you for the very beautiful and informative article on Forest Lawn. I used to visit there a lot, and you captured my feelings about that magestic treasure. Next time I do visit, I will be thinking of your article. Thank you again.
William – How interesting that both of us visited this website within two days of each other!
Thank you for your kind words! Forest Lawn has affected so many people in this same way! Thank you for reading!