A Little Background about Woodlands Cemetery

Receiving Vault at Woodlands Cemetery, Cambridge NYIn June of 1852 Mr. John M. Stevenson Esq. sent for H. C. Sidney Esq., an English born architect, engineer and landscape designer from Philadelphia.  Mr Sidney was hired to choose a site and design a new cemetery for Cambridge.  In 1859 Gardeners Monthly touted Sidney as the best landscape gardener, perhaps in the country.

On November 10, 1857 a meeting was held to entertain plans for
establishing a suitable burial ground.

About this time the Rev. Messrs. Gordon, Shortt, Stewart and Phillips,
preached eloquent and effective sermons to their respective
congregations. Some of them from the text, Gen. 23d,4, ” I am a stranger
and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying place with
you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

So said Abraham to the inhabitants of Hebron in Canaan upon the death of
his wife Sarah.  These discourses served to awaken the public attention
to this subject more thoroughly than it has ever been, and as the result
the Trustees were encouraged to go forward without hesitation to the
accomplishment of the purpose for which the Association had been formed.

Mr. Sidney decided in favor of the present site and sketched a map of the same.  On January 16th, 1858 this site was purchased and on April 1, 1858 Mr. Sidney commenced in laying out roads, walks, avenues and burial lots.  Woodlands Cemetery was dedicated June 2nd, 1858.

monuments at the top of the hill, Woodlands CemeterySince that time it has been considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the region.  To add to the beauty, Mrs. John M. Stevenson had the handsome entrance gate installed in memory of her late husband and cemetery founder.

Inside the gates is an impressive receiving vault as a memorial to Granville Gustaveus Wright, and was constructed by local monument maker William Dudley Hoyt and contains two Tiffany stained glass windows.

Click here for an in-depth history of the cemetery, a digital scan of the dedication book published in 1859.