Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, NY was founded in 1849, 11 years after Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. The two are very similar—designed during the rural cemetery movement—which is why it was suggested that I should definitely see Forest Lawn during our recent trip to Buffalo.
One of the first monuments you encounter upon entering through the main gates is dedicated to the only child of Mr. and Mrs. John Blocher, who died after a year's illness. The elaborate, glass-enclosed memorial features the Blochers dressed in their Victorian best, standing watch over their son, who looks as if he's just fallen asleep while reading. An angel hovers above, and although it's all rendered in beautifully white stone and everyone looks serene, the cumulative effect is still unnerving.
Like Green-Wood, Forest Lawn is very large—269 acres—and I feel like I could go back several times and barely scratch the surface of all there is to see. It's still an active cemetery, and a lot of what we saw looked like newer burials, with ample space to continue accepting new residents for years to come.
But the best find of all is definitely this tombstone, belonging to Timothy Switala, who died in 2002. It's the only one I've found so far in all of my cemetery exploration that is a modern stone, carved in the style of the 1700s stones that I love so much. I can forgive the modern depiction of the atom because that winged skull is so very wonderful. I've long wondered why designs like this went out of favor and wished that they would make a comeback. I'm sorry for the Switala's family loss, but I'm so grateful to have found his incredible stone and to know it's entirely possible to render the classic designs with modern materials—here's hoping I see more of these in my future cemetery travels.