Forest Lawn Cemetery - Table of Contents

Buffalo Cremation Co. / Forest Lawn Cremation Co.
901 West Delavan Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209
Forest Lawn Cemetery - Official Website

"The Buffalo Cremation Company erected their crematory on Delavan Avenue in Buffalo, New York, and its first cremation took place on December 27, 1885" - Via Lucas
Architecture firm:
Green & Wicks
Richardsonian Romanesque
Exterior building materials:
Medina sandstone; terra cotta
"Crematorium" and "crematory":

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

"The Buffalo Cremation Company erected their crematory on Delavan Avenue in Buffalo, New York, and its first cremation took place on December 27, 1885."
Source: Via Lucas  (online December 2016)

South and west elevations

Tower: terra cotta finial and shingles on pyramidal roof  ...  Decorative loophole.
Roof at left: terra cotta ridge tiles on terra cotta shingled roof.
Roof at rightterra cotta finial, ridge tiles and shingles

Note Forest Lawn Cemetery across the street on West Delavan Ave.  ...  Main entrance portico  ...  Four portico details below:

Main entrance portico detail #1:  Terra cotta ridge tiles and shingles   ...  Note roof at right (detailed below:)

Main entrance portico detail #2:  Terra cotta  tiles

Main entrance portico detail #3:   Fluted columns

Main entrance portico detail #4:  View of portico from West Delavan

Center facade bayMedina sandstone  (detailed below:) ...  Window hoodmold and label molding frame voussoirs  ...  ... Decorative buttresses ...  Stone lintels and sills

Medina sandstone detail

West elevation  ...  Note snow guards, detailed below:

West elevation snow guards

West elevation  ...  Note rafter tails, detailed below:

Terra cotta roof tiles  ...  Rafter tails supporting overhanging eaves  ... Medina sandstone

Buffalo Cremation Co.

Buffalo Cremation Co. (Limited)-Incorporated May, 1885, under the general business act of 1775, of the State of New York.  The company is organized with a philanthropic and sanitary motive.  The stock, when once paid up, is non-assessable, and not liable for the debts of the company.  Capital, $15,000.

President - Charles Cary, M.D.
Vice-President - D. W. Harrington, M.D.
Secretary - Cyrus K. Remington, office 84 Erie County Savings Bank.
Treasurer- George S. Metcalfe.

The Crematory is located on Delavan avenue, Opposite Forest Lawn Cemetery
- 1893 Buffalo City Directory  Google Books (online Dec. 2016)
History of Cremation in the US

America's first modern cremation took place on December 6, 1876, at the LeMoyne Crematory in Washington, Pennsylvania.
America's first PUBLIC crematory was built by the Lancaster Cremation and Funeral Reform Society and its first cremation took place on November 25, 1884, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The United States Cremation Company's Fresh Pond Crematory on Long Island was completed and its first cremation took place on December 4, 1885.
The Buffalo Cremation Company erected their crematory on Delavan Avenue in Buffalo, New York, and its first cremation took place on December 27, 1885.
- Via Lucas (online December 2016)

History of Cremation in the US

Modern cremation, as we know it, actually began only a little over a century ago, after years of experimentation into the development of a dependable chamber. When Professor Brunetti of Italy finally perfected his model and displayed it at the 1873 Vienna Exposition, the cremation movement started almost simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the British Isles, the movement was fostered by Queen Victoria's surgeon, Sir Henry Thompson. Concerned with hazardous health conditions, Sir Henry and his colleagues founded the Cremation Society of England in 1874. The first crematories in Europe were built in 1878 in Woking, England and Gotha, Germany.

Meanwhile in North America, although there had been two recorded instances of cremation before 1800, the real start began in 1876 when Dr. Julius LeMoyne built the first crematory in Washington, Pennsylvania.

In 1884 the second crematory opened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and, as was true of many of the early crematories, it was owned and operated by a cremation society. Other forces behind early crematory openings were Protestant clergy who desired to reform burial practices and the medical profession concerned with health conditions around early cemeteries.

Crematories soon sprang up in Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit and Los Angeles. By 1900, there were already 20 crematories in operation, and by the time that Dr. Hugo Erichsen founded the Cremation Association of America in 1913, there were 52 crematories in North America and over 10,000 cremations took place in that year.
- Cremation Association of North America:  History of Cremation  (online December 2016)
History of Cremation in the US

As far as we can discover, the first crematory was built by Dr. Julius Lemoyne in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1876. The first person cremated in this crematorium was Baron LePalm, in the same year. (Dr. Lemoyne had built this crematorium for the cremation of his own body - he was so strongly averse to burial.) The popular disapproval of this innovation was so active that police reserves were called out in New York City to allow the departure of the body. The furnace was the old fashioned coke, preheated type, 24 hours to heat, 2 hours to cremate and another 24 hours to cool. A tablet in memory of this beginning of the modern cremation movement has been placed on this little brick crematory by the Cremation Association of America by Dr. Hugo Erichsen, its founder.

The public crematorium movement was really started by the sons of Dr. Corey of Buffalo, New York. Dr. Corey, somewhere about the early eighties, died in Europe and was cremated in an Italian crematorium. His sons, upon return to Buffalo, decided to organize the Buffalo Crematorium for public use. They brought the Italian workmen and materials from Europe and installed a wood alcohol, gas producing and burning retort, which was used intermittently with gas supply to date.

- Lawrence Moore, "Crematories and Cremation."  International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (online December 2016)

Reprinted from Fulton History


Work  of  the   "Purifying   Flame"  in  Buffalo. 


Increase in Incinerations Here - Prominent Advocates of Burning - A Beautiful Temple for the Last Rites

It   Is  gratifying   to  the  members  of  the  Buffalo  Cremation  Company  that  the  number  of  cremations  at  the  Buffalo   Crematory  in  1885 largely  exceeded  that  of  any  previous  year  in  is history.    The  first  crematory   operated   in  America     was    constructed  by Dr. Julius  Le  Moyne,  in  Washington,  Pa.,  in  1875.   During  the  first  10  years,  only  10  bodies     were     incinerated     there.    During  the  second  decade  264  bodies  were   cremated     in     Washington,  Pa.  Since  then  the  spread   of  crematoria  has  been   rapid   and  there   Is  a   crematory   in   every  large  city  in  the  land. 

The  funeral  pyre  was one of the  earliest  ways  of  disposing  of  the  human   dead  in  many  countries,  and  was  the  general   rule   until  the close  of the fourth  century  among  the  Romans.   In  Egypt  embalming  was the common      method,     in   Judea      burial   in   sepulchers  was  resorted  to,  and  the  Chinese  always  made   their   interments  in  the  earth.     During  plagues  the  ancient   Jews   resorted   to  cremation, probably   for   sanitary  reasons.     In    some  countries   where   cremation   is  abhorred,   fire  is  held   sacred   and  must  not  be  polluted.   

Other   nations   practiced      cave-burial,      desiccation,     exposure,   suspension,   casting   into  the  sea,  and  envelopment.   In some cases,  the ashes from  an  incinerated   body  are  cast  to  the  winds  and the Digger  Indians  mix  a  resinous  gum  with   such  ashes  and  smear  the  heads  of  surviving  relatives  with  the  mixture.   

It  is  undoubtedly  true  that  the opposition  to  cremation  among  Christians  is  due  to the  belief  of  such  in  the  resurrection   of  the  body,  but  science,   which  has  shown  that  burning  merely  produces  quickly- what  putrefaction   takes  a  long  time  to  accomplish,  has  done  much  to  break   down   this   feeding.     Ten  years   ago  the   Pope   issued  an  edict  against  cremation,  but two years  ago it  was removed  and  now,  where  the   parish   priest   consents,     cremation   is   permitted.

The   Buffalo   Cremation   Company,   Limited,  was  formed   in  1885 and  is   capitalised  at  $15,000.    There  are  600 shares  of  stock  and  the  stock  is  non-assessable  and  not   liable  for  the  debts   of  the  company.  The   officers  are:    President,   Dr.  Charles  Gary;  vice-president.  Dr.  D.  W.   Harring-ton;  treasurer,   James   S.  Metcalfe;   secretary,  Cyrus  K.  Remington.    The  company  was  "organized   with   a  philanthropic  and  sanitary   motive"  as  its  prospectus   stated.   Among   the  prominent   members   of  the  Buffalo   Cremation     Company,     many    of    whom  are  well-known  believers  in  and advocates   of   cremation   are  the   following:

John  G.   Milburn, Ansley  Wilcox,   Charles   Kamper,  David  Tucker,  Arthur  W.   Hickman,  Judge   Robert  C.   Titus,  James  B.  Stafford, Dr .  C.   Cary,  E. L.  Parker,    George E. Laverack   N. S. Rosenau.  Judge E.W.  Hatch   Dr. D. W.   Harrington,   B.   B.  Glenny,   Miss Maria  LoveB.   C.   RumseyL.  G.   Sellstedt,  Dr.   Henry   R. Hopkins, C. K. Remington, George P.    Sawyer,  Dr. S. W.  Pattison,  J.   S.   Moore,  J.  C.  Beecher,  Dr. F.  W.   Abbott,   S,  S.  Spaulding,  Dr.  P.  W.  Van Peyma, Carlton   Sprague,  C.  E.    Williams,   D.   P   Rumsey, F.    A.   Bell,  T.  Guilford    Smith, Dr.  C.  Weil,  Dr. W.  W.  Potter,  Dr. Roswell  Park. Frank  M.   Loomis.  Dr.  J.  S.  Armstrong, Dr.  Frederick  Peterson,   Bronson  Rumsey, Dr.  J   B.  Coakley,  John  N.  Scatcherd,   Dr.  John   Pryor,   Hiram     C.     Day, G.  A.   Davis,   Dr.      A.      Dagenais,       Dr.  W.     H.      Heath,    C.    W.  Hammond,  Dr. J.  W.  Putnam,  Joseph  P.   Dudley,  Dr.  Walter  D. Greene,  Dr. A. H.    Briggs,  L.    D.   Rumsey,  Dr.  Lee  H.  Smith,  Dr.  John   Hauenstein,  Dr.   Delancey  Rochester  and  H. C.  Harrower. 

The   Hoffman    cremation  last   week  was  the  third   incineration  performed  here  this  year.    The   first  incineration   was  in  1885  and  was  a  test  case.    Since  that   time  the  record at the  Buffalo   crematory  is  as follows:   1886, eight cases; 1887, 17; 1888, 16; 1889, 23; 1890, 30; 1890, 30; 1891, 37; 1892, 27, 1894, 32; 1895, 44; total, 268.

The crematory is situated on Delavan Avenue,  near  Delaware  and  directly opposite  Forest  Lawn,  which  is one of  the  most  extensive  and  beautiful  cemeteries  in  the  United  States.    It  is  built  of  dark   brown   sandstone,   in   a   plain,   substantial    style.    In  the  summer   months,   when  the   handsome  little  structure  is  covered  with  ivy  it  reminds  one  of  the  small chapels built   in   England   centuries   ago.   The   building   is  admirably   suited   for  the  purpose for   which  it  is  intended.    It  is  one  of  the  finest  crematories  in  America. and  the  incinerations  are  conducted   amid   surroundings   suited  to  their  solemn and  impressive  character.   

The  temple    for  the   performance   of  the  last  rites  over  the  dead  is  a  handsomely   decorated   chamber.    The   chancel   is  decorated   in  the  early  Italian style. There  are  many     different     symbols  and  devices   interwoven   in  arches   of   peacock-green   and   blue,   while  the  windows,    of    stained   glass,   cast   a   dim  light,    mellow    and   religious.              .                   

Bodies  for  incineration  are  usually  taken  to  the  crematory  in an  inexpensive   coffin,   which  is  returned  to the undertaker.     The     company's   charge  for  incinerating  is $25. While  the mourners  are assembling  in the  temple,  the  body  is  taken  to  an  anteroom  to  the  left   of  the  chancel.    Here  there  is  a   bier,   draped   with   mourning   emblems,   and  the body  is  placed  upon  it.   By  means  of   an   invisible   cable,   the   bier   is   then   drawn  to  the  chancel,  and  after  the  ceremonies,  the  bier  glides  slowly  out  of  the  chancel,  the mourners  disperse  and the incineration   is   conducted   privately   in  the  presence   of  two  official   witnesses,   representing  the  family   of  the  subject.    

After     the  flames  have  done  their  work,  the  ashes  are  gathered  and  placed  in  an  urn.    These    are  made  of  terra  cotta  and  some  are  lined  with  zinc.    These  urns  may  be  buried  in  a   crematory,   placed   in  a  sarcophagus,  or  left   in  the  temple.    It  is  expected  that   a   handsome   columbarium     will  be     erected     adjacent   to  the  crematory   some   time  in  the   near    future.   

The  furnace  was  made  in  Milan,   Italy,   and  was  placed  in  position  under  the supervision  of  Signor  Giuseppe  Geronimo  of Milan.    The  system  is  what  is  known'  as  the  Venini  system.  The incinerating  chamber  is  to the  right  of  the  chancel,  and the body  rests  on  fire-brick    columns.    In  the  basement  there  is  a  gas  generator,   which   is  a  simple   fire  pot  about   four   feet   in  a  vertical  measurement,  and  two  feet   laterally.    The  air  for  combustion  is  admitted  through  a  grate  in  the  bottom  and  is  not  sufficient  to  allow  the  ignition  of the entire mass   of   small  wood that  is  heaped  on  the  fire.     The  result  is  the  fire  at  the  bottom  distills  the  wood  at  the  top, and  the  gases  of  distillation  and  combustion  of  wood  are  carried  to the  back  end  of  the  incinerating  chamber,   on  the   floor   above;   here   these   gases  are  met  by air  heated  in  a  chamber  outside  of  the  furnace,  where  the two are ignited   by  a   fire   which  is  kept   burning   immediately   under   their   point   of   union.   The  Bunsen  flame  thus  produced  is  thrown  quite  across  the  incinerating  chamber  and  hence  it  is  carried  back  beneath  a  retort  by  a  flue  into  the  basement  to  a  chimney,  which     is     about     40     feet    high,   and   so  to  the  open  air.    A  certain  amount  of  gas  is  also  burned  in  the  flue  beneath  the  incinerating  retort  and  also  at  the  bottom  of the  chimney.   The Bunsen  burners  play  directly   upon  the  body  and  by  their   tremendous   heat   (2,500  degrees    Fahrenheit)    liberate  the gases  of the body,  which  being  burned  in  the  retort,  are  carried   into  the  flue   beneath;   here  another   Bunsen    flame    ignites   such   combustible   material  as  has  not   been  consumed  in  the  retort.    At  the  foot  of  the  chimney  there  is  a  third   Bunsen  burner,   where  the  combustion   is  finished.   

Supt.  William  Legg,  who has  been  in  charge  of  the  crematory  for  four  years,  is  an  authority  on  crematoria.    He  says  it  takes  about   one hour  to  heat  the   furnace   and  about  two  hours  to  perform  an  incineration.

Proper  precautions  are taken by cremationists  to  guard    against    thwarting   the   ends   of  justice   by     incinerating   a   body   which  might  have  been  the  subject  of  foul  play.    To  this end  the  attending  physician  is   required   to  present   a   sworn    affidavit    that  he "has examined  carefully  and  separately  all the circumstances  connected  with  the  death  and  illness  of  the  deceased  and  that  to the  best  of  his  knowledge  and be-lief   there  exists  no  reason   why  the  said  deceased  person  should  not  be  cremated." 

Appended   to  this   must   be  the   certificate   of  a  notary,  that  the  physician  is  of  good  standing,  etc.  Here  is the form   employed  by  a  number  of   local  cremationists  to  assure  the  incineration  of  their  remains.   The form  is appended  to  a  will,  or  otherwise,  and  should  be  signed,  dated,  and  witnessed  and  then  entrusted  to the signer's  executor  or  other  person  of  trust.    The  form: 

Believing  that  the  duty   of  the  individual  to  his  kind  includes  providing  for  such  final  disposition  of  his  body  as  shall  be least  detrimental   to  those  who survive him;

And  believing  that  the  modern   process  of  Incineration  provides  the quickest  and  safest  mode  of  such  disposition,  and  is  preferable  to  any  other,  both  on  grounds  of  sentiment  and  of  fact;  I  hereby  solemnly  express  to  my  survivors  my  earnest  desire  and  request   that  on  my  decease   my  body   shall   be  cremated  at  the  Crematory   Temple  la  Buffalo,  N.  Y.,  or  at  such  other  convenient  place  as  shall   furnish   the  proper  facilities.

Color photos and their arrangement 2016 Chuck LaChiusa
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