Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jane's Walk: Site 30

We have almost reached that end of "Jane's Walk," our observance of Preservation Month and our tribute to Jane Jacobs. On this day, May 30, which was the original date of Decoration Day, chosen because it was not the anniversary of any battle, we visit the Hudson City Cemetery. 

The cemetery is one of Hudson's most undervalued treasures. In 1983, the Hudson City Cemetery--the original part of the cemetery--was judged to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places for its "noteworthy collection of funerary art," but designation for the cemetery has never been pursued. It should be, because, in the words of William Krattinger, historic preservation specialist with the New York State Historic Preservation Office, the Hudson City Cemetery is "a virtual treasure trove for historians and enthusiasts of American funerary art, offering as it does a wealth of markers and crypts that illustrate various themes and styles within this genre."

I spent an hour or so in the cemetery today viewing and photographing notable 19th-century monuments and crypts. The best of those photographs are offered without identification or comment to inspire you to explore the cemetery on your own. (In past years, people have been dissuaded from walking in the cemetery by warnings of ticks, but I am happy to report that nary a tick attached itself to me in the time I spent there today.)

Because today was the date of the original Memorial Day, and because Memorial Day was created to honor the Civil War dead, the first photograph shows the part of the Hudson City Cemetery dedicated to the Grand Army of the Republic. The principal monument is to Colonel David Smith Cowles, who founded and led the 128th Regiment, made up of men from Columbia and Dutchess counties enlisted to fight for the Union. Cowles died in action at the Battle of Port Hudson in Louisiana. 




  1. I spent a summer afternoon there, around three years ago, by myself.

    The few 18C/early 19C headstones were also of great interest.

    The place is peaceful, genial and dignified.
    The living populace of Hudson could learn a lot from the atmosphere in the cemetery.

  2. Thank You Carole, for giving us a lovely taste of one of the most undervalued & overlooked components of our beautiful City.

    I would also encourage folks to take in the many incredible heritage trees in our cemetery, we are so very lucky to have such majestic exemplars sprinkled throughout this most pleasing landscape.

  3. As a B&B owner (for now) we have people from all over coming here to visit their ancestors graves. Yes most are here to check their parents resting place but many are going back generations and are very happy
    when they find out the community respects this beautiful graveyard

  4. Thanks, Carole, for this great piece! I love the cemetery and usually walk my dog their at least once a week. It's so peaceful and beautiful with a great view from the higher portions. And some of the monuments are both beautiful and interesting to read.

  5. The whole story of the cemetery is so interesting.
    I love your photo's.
    The access to fine stone and master carvers
    is evident in many of these monuments,just from a sculptural point of view and one of the oldest businesses in 1896,when the cemetery was landscaped and fenced in after being unattended for quite a longtime ,was Nicholson Monuments est.1835.*"The entrance to Cedar Park was landscaped by local notable Dr. John Conover Smock, who engaged the help of America's foremost landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park."*(*gossips 2-12-1202*)
    right there.... full stop ..... we should be paying close attention.
    I love Anna Bradbury's description in her
    History of Hudson,NY 1908
    "Additions have been made from time to time, and it is now of quite considerable extent, and greatly
    admired for the beauty of its scenery. The committee deserve credit for the selection of a spot, at once so secluded and so accessible."

    Do you know if anyone started to apply for National Register of Historic Places for the Hudson City Cemetery?Is it the same to register a cemetery or a important Park as it is to register a building?
    I keep getting flashes of the photos you took
    in Feb. this year, of the clear cutting taking place in Cedar Cemetery,although defended as necessary by DPW,as trees were damaged by ice storms.The photo clearly show that this work was not done by professionals.In 1983, the Hudson City Cemetery--the original part of the cemetery--was judged to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places for its "noteworthy collection of funerary art." 1983,thats 29 yrs ago.It would seem time for HPC, along with support from CC, DPW and private citizenry,to take up this action.
    See,this is where we need a real Doris Duke,who had the finances and the passion and the integrity of the historic building or land or district at heart,to preserve it with archival
    accuracy,as much as humanly possible and leave a fund for it's continued maintenance.

  6. Sorry,my dyslexia is showing....I ,of course meant *Gossips 2-12-2012*(however gossip itself has been around since before 1202AD, No doubt)
    Oh, Carole,please,please pretty please.Keep taking us on your walks.You have stirred back some much needed interest in our little City.Once we lose these treasures ,they are gone for ever.
    Your walks not only charm , entertain and educate,but they help instill some pride for our City.
    HPC doesn't have the man power or the literal power to protect what we have by themselves.They need our support,our back up.
    I think you accomplished that and then some,in the tradition of Jane Jacobs and may I add Bryne Frone
    My hat's off to you, madame,and hope you will continue to take us further down the paths towards understanding what we have ,what we have lost and what we must protect.
    Prison Alley

  7. I can not spell either