A Cemetery in Mount Kisco, NY

A fellow resident of Briarcliff Manor recently gave me box and a suitcase full of old cameras (but that’s a story for a future post). I decided to take one out to see if it was working. But where to go? Anyone who reads these posts will know that I’m fascinated by cemeteries. My friend and colleague at the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society, Karen told me that she’d recently been in nearby Mount Kisco and had spotted some cemeteries. So I decided to go and check them out.

There are actually two cemeteries right next to each other. St. Francis Cemetery (the subject of a future post) and this one, Oakwood Cemetery.

According to Patrick Raftery:

The Oakwood Cemetery in Mount Kisco is located on the East side of Lexington Avenue opposite the intersection of Moor Avenue. It has been active since 1872. From 1872-1883 its official name was Locust Hill Cemetery.

Oakwood Cemetery was mentioned briefly by Joseph Barrett in Scharf’s History of Westchester County, New York: “Oakwood Cemetery, a very beautiful tract of land of fifty-five acres, is in the Village of Mount Kisco. It was laid out by Mr. Chauncey Smith, then the owner of the land, and given the name of Locust Hill about 1872. It was incorporated January 9, 1883 by its present name.”

The first burial in the cemetery “was that of a little girl, the daughter of Mr. Martin Hubbell.” According to the New Castle Town Historian, Chauncey Smith was a real estate entrepreneur who developed land he owned on the east side of Lexington Avenue into a residential neighborhood, while converting his property on the west side of that street into a cemetery. The cemetery had been in operation for barely four years when the “panic of 1876 forced Smith into bankruptcy,” a situation which jeopardized the future of the burial ground. The cemetery was reorganized on November 21, 1882, when “nine local citizens (including some of the original plot owners) for a new corporation…to own and operate the cemetery.” The new corporation changed the name of the burial ground to Oakwood Cemetery, “planted 100 oak trees to validate the name” and offered plots for sale ranging from $25 to $350 per lot. At the present time (Note: this is from a volume printed in 2011), the management of Oakwood Cemetery is planning the construction of a new Mausoleum/columbarium to provide alternatives to the traditional method of in-ground burials. (Patrick Raftery, “The Cemeteries of Westchester County, Volume II“. Westchester Historical Society, 2011.)

“This advertisement (see below) for Oakwood Cemetery appeared in ‘Sketches and Views of the Old and New Villages of Katonah, N.Y’., a booklet that was published in August 1900. The ad targeted Katonah residents who were required to to remove the interments of the relatives from Whitlockville Cemetery as a result of the expansion of the Croton Reservoir.” (Patrick Raftery, “The Cemeteries of Westchester County, Volume II“. Westchester Historical Society, 2011.)

Taken with a Canon EOS Elan and Canon EF 35-70mm f3.5-4.5

Film Camera 2022 – 2 – Minolta Maxxum 600si – Results

I like this camera. It’s fairly light and feels solid. I suppose what I like most are all of the buttons and dials. There’s a button or a dial for practically everything you want to do: exposure compensation; flash compensation; drive mode; exposure mode; exposure area; autofocus area; autofocus mode; flash settings; ISO. There’s no messing around with complicated menus here. I also liked the bright and uncomplicated viewfinder: just the shutter speed, aperture; a green light that illuminates when focus has been achieved. I also liked the top LCD where you can change and view settings without looking through the viewfinder. The various settings are controlled by two dials – one on the front and one on the rear.

The were only a couple of minor things that I didn’t like. I found the exposure compensation dial to be rather “fiddly” because you have to press in a small button before you can rotate it. The camera also has a proprietary flash shoe. This doesn’t bother me much because I don’t use flash a lot and in any case I have flashes I bought for my early Sony Alpha cameras, which used the same proprietary shoe. I would also have liked the grip to have been a little deeper.

The pictures were taken at Dale (no relation) cemetery in Ossining, NY.

Film Camera 2021 -3 Pentax Espio 115G – Results

I liked the appearance of this camera with its brushed silver and black look and it was quite a pleasant camera to use.

The zoom to 115mm was a bit intimidating and extended for quite a distance from the front of the camera. I suspected that it was probably quite soft a the longer end of the zoom so I tended to avoid the telephoto end. Unfortunately I hadn’t realized that the wide end suffers a lot from pincushion distortion.

I took the camera out on a pretty bad day: it was overcast and dark with quite a bit of haze. Also I was using an old film (of course I didn’t know how old it was). So the resulting pictures needed a bit of tweaking in terms of exposure and contrast, but bearing in mind that the film was probably quite old they weren’t too bad.

The review I mentioned in the preceding post (See: Film Camera 2021 -3 Pentax Espio 115G) concludes:

I really enjoy using the 115G — it’s a lot of camera packed into a little package, and for me at least, the pluses are definitely more significant than the minuses. It’s a solidly built little machine that produces nice, sharp images. If you happen to see one turn up at your local thrift store at a reasonable price, grab it. I think you’ll find, as I have, that it’s a very capable shooter.

I’d agree: all things considered it’s a decent camera, but unfortunately I have other point and shoot cameras that I like more so I don’t think I’ll be using it again.

Above the brick wall of the former Speyer Estate.

A gate in the wall.

Passing the Old Croton Aqueduct trail.

A garden at the intersection of Albany Post Road (Route 9) and Scarborough Station Road.

Another garden, this time at the intersection of Albany Post Road and Revolutionary Road.

Entrance to Scarborough Presbyterian Church.

Crisscrossing patterns.

Detail of the door of Scarborough Presbyterian Church.

Historic (1764) Sparta Cemetery.

Tree at Sparta Cemetery.

The plaque reads in part: “This stone was pierced by a cannon shot fired from the British sloop-of-war Vulture commanded by Lieutenant Sutherland, 1780”.

Interesting detail of a headstone.

Gravestones and a monument.

Same tree as above, different angle.

A brick wall at the corner of Scarborough Road and Ridgecrest Road.

Another brick wall, this time with tree roots.