After taking a hiatus last year due to the pandemic, the second Oakwood Cemetery tour will take place on Sunday, June 13 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Hosted by the Historical Society of Islip Hamlet and the Bay Shore Historical Society, the tour will cover approximately 15 gravestones of famous and infamous residents of the cemetery.
The great-great-grandchildren of Phoebe Wright, one of the Oakwood Cemetery residents, whose husband and sons were in the Civil War, attended the 2019 tour and donated letters between Phoebe and Frederick written during the war to the historical society.
This year’s tour will now feature actors in period costume (barring inclement weather) reading the letters as Phoebe and Frederick.
Some other tour highlights include: Revolutionary War soldiers, Bay Shore’s African-American community, and an heir to the Chiclets fortune.
Historic Oakwood Cemetery was designed in the 1840s by architect John C. Sidney. In the late 1880s, Hannah and William S. Gardner, wealthy citizens of Troy, constructed The Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel and Crematorium as a memorial to their only son, who had died tragically young. They spared no expense, using rare materials and top artisans of the day, including Louis Comfort Tiffany. The cemetery underwent its greatest development in the late 19th century under Superintendent John Boetcher, who incorporated rare foliage into the grounds and executed the landscape design laid out by J.C. Sidney. Oakwood was the fourth rural cemetery opened in New York, and its governing body was the first rural cemetery association created in the state.