I keep discovering postcards of cemeteries in my collection - and now I find a card of a crematory. I hope it's not an omen. This is the Gardner Earl Memorial Crematory in Troy, New York.
It turns out that this crematory was built by William Earl as a memorial to his son. That may seem a little peculiar. After all, he could have funded a school or other building with more cheerful associations as a way to memorialize his son. But there was a reason behind this choice. It seems that the son, Gardner Earl, a sickly young man, had gathered enough strength to make a trip to Italy when he was in his 30s. I'm not sure what the other highlights of his trip were, but apparently young Gardner was very impressed with cremation methods in Italy. It makes you wonder about his travel itinerary, doesn't it?
So impressed was young Gardner that after his return he drafted a document stating that upon his death he would like to be cremated. His parents had probably faced many worries and a lot of heartache taking care of their sickly son. And now this. When he died a few years later, they had to cart his body off to Buffalo, the closest place where cremation was available. This inspired Gardner's parents to build a crematory in their hometown of Troy, New York in his honor. The building was completed in 1889. It's still strange if you ask me, but at least there is an explanation of sorts.
That said, this building has some amazing details, including Tiffany windows, exotic marble, carved stone and wood, and decorative copper details on the roof. The chapel and the reception room are simply stunning. The building was designed by Albert Fuller, and has been nominated as a national historic landmark. Oakwood cemetery, the setting for this crematory, is also known for it's beautiful gardens. A number of prominent Americans are buried here.
The back of the card has no message, not even "wish you were here." Sorry, Lisa B.