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Oakwood Cemetery News


Next Cemetery Board Meeting will be July 16, 2018 at the Oakwood Cemetery Office in the Government Center. The public is welcome to attend!

Right: Oakwood Cemetery's logo was designed by Nunda resident George Lucas.

Plans, Projects, and Problems for the 2018 Season

It is another busy year at Oakwood Cemetery.

As summer begins we continues to cope with damage done by storms in the winter and spring. We opened later this year because of the amount of limbs and debris that had fallen, but thanks to the hard work of Bob Piper the majority has been cleaned up. But each new thunderstorm seems to bring down more of the weakened or broken branchesso there is always more clean up to do.

Our volunteer team of Cemetery Trustee Roy Goll, Gary Ludwig, and Wally Walsworth have been busy fixing fallen or crooked gravestones. So far they have fixed more than a dozen in Section G. They will continue to work through the year.

Among the major work this summer is the improvement of Section J (Gibbs Street entrance). Last season Bob Piper created a new map of the northern half and completed the planning for drainage work in the western half of the section. This will include laying drainage tile which should help to dry out the west parts of the section. This work is scheduled for later July. The new map allowed us to have our first area of cremation graves, smaller plots especially for cremains - these will be cheaper than our full plots.

Speaking of drainage, you might notice some small piles of dirt on each side of the sidewalk leadking to our cemetery vault. Every few years we seem to have problems and believe there may be a spring in the hillside by the vault. We hope to improve the drainage in that area this year.

Another project is to tackle a growing problem. Although we have had our rules regulating the decoration of graves, we have had an increase of the use of borders, mulch, plantings, and the like. Although we understand the desire to decorate family graves, adding plantings, borders, mulch and excessive decorations sometimes lead to the gravesite becoming unsightly and difficult to maintain. Borders, plantings and mulch often interfere with the mowing and trimming and, although some families faithfully maintain these decorations, often they are become overgrown and full of weeds. Some families have indicated that they were not aware of the rules (although they are posted at each entrance and can be found here). So later this summer we will be posting signs around the cemetery that will clearly spell out the rules and regulations with the hope that families will help us keep Oakwood a beautiful place.

We also hope to continue with the repair of our historic front steps, mend more of the broken gravestones in the older sections, and lay out another new area for cremation burials at the west end of Section L.

More updates will be posted later in the year!





A Quick Review of 2017

2017 was another successful year for the Oakwood Cemetery Association.

Oakwood Caretaker and Board Member Bob Piper did another fine job maintaining the grounds throughout the year. In addition to mowing, Bob did a lot of pruning of trees and shrubs around the Cemetery as well as maintenance work on the Soldier's monument and several of the roads. We also had our new blacktop drive sealed.




The Renovation/Restoration of the Soldier's Monument is Almost Done

October 3, 2014

The Oakwood Cemetery Association is pleased to announce that a two year project to repair Nunda's Soldier Monument in Oakwood Cemetery is nearly complete.

The monument was built by the Craig W. Wadsworth G.A.R. Post and dedicate to the memory of Nunda area soldiers in October 1897. The money was through donations from community members. It was described as "fortress bastion" of solid masonry.

By 1917 the stucco sides of the monuments was showing severe cracking. A series of repairs began that be repeated throughout the 20th century. About 30 years ago a cement cap was added and the monument painting with a silver paint. Although the cap provided to be beneficial, the paint did not. Moisture was sealed inside the monument and eventually freezing and thawing led to severe cracking and even failure of some of the stucco sides.

The Oakwood Cemetery Association began a restoration process by 2012. Several area masons came to examine the monument and gave possible courses of action and potential costs. None of these seem to adequately address the problems that were causing the frequent repairs to the monument.

In 2013 the Association decided it was necessary to obtain professional guidance in the project Architect Andrea Rebeck did a condition report which provided a better understanding of the problems and possible solutions the Association faced in properly repairing the monument.

Using the condition report as a basis, Association members Bob Piper and Tom Cook drew up bid specifications for the renovation project with the help of Peter Ellison, an expert in historic conservation masonry. The call for bids on the project were sent out in the early summer of 2014.

Two bids were received and the Association accepted the proposal by Material Conservations of Philadelphia PA.

Work began in early September. Association members removed loose stucco from the sides, and Bob Piper and Dan Strobel dug a installed a french drain around the monument. The crew from Material Conservation arrived on September 22nd.

As the MC crew removed the remaining stucco, it was noted that the interior "rubble" base was both aesthetically pleasing, and with some repairs, very suitable as an exterior wall. After careful consideration, the Association voted to leave the stucco exterior off of the monument. Although this alters the original look of the monument, the decision was made for the following reasons:

1) It appears that the original design of stucco over the stone base had serious flaws, resulting in the multiple 20th century repairs. Although the drainage work and repair/repointing of the underlying rock might alleviate some of the problems, neither the contractor nor our consultant Mr. Ellison could assure use that the replaced stucco sides would not fail again in the future.

2) maintenance would be ongoing and might require costly professional conservation work. With the rock base hidden, problems with the stone, similar to those identified when the sides were removed, could not be addressed without removing stucco.

3) The stone work is aesthetically pleasing and has a more historical character that what appeared to be a solid concrete structure. All the basic shapes and lines are retained, and the workmanship of the original stone masons can be better appreciated.

4) Maintenance will be easier. The rock face is accessible and repairs to individual rocks and mortar can be made more easily.The concrete cap is in good condition and fits well with the stone sides.

5) Both the Material Conservation crew and Mr. Ellison felt leaving the stucco off was acceptable from a historical conservation view, and would correct a design problem with the original structure. They also felt that if the Association changed its mind in the future, the stucco sides could be added at a future time.

By the end of October the repair of the stone masonry and replacement of the mortar will be complete. The french drain will be completed and the area landscaped. Over the winter the Association will have replacement cannon balls fabricated, and when weather permits, the cannon will be restored. Before the rededication ceremony next summer a small monument and plaque will be placed at the end of the pathway being built to the west of monument.

This project was made possible through the legacy of John Osacja.



Oakwood Cemetery Prepares for its Sesquicentennial Celebration!

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of Oakwood Cemetery. The Oakwood Cemetery has been working hard for the past couple of years on a series of improvements and restoration projects. Here is a summary of some of them:

  • We have been able to return to the concept of a cemetery "caretaker". After several years of hiring the various mowing companies, we now have a caretaker who is in the cemetery most week days. It has made a remarkable impact on the cemetery grounds!
  • Improvements continue to be made to both the historic roadways in the cemetery and the newer road between section K & L. This includes new gravel, expanding the southwest turn around, and improving the western end of Section I. This work will continue over the coming years.
  • Plans are underway to move the current cemetery sign and map at the West Street Entrance to the Gibbs Street Entrance and erect a more attractive sign and map.
  • the condition report on the 1897 Soldier's Monument was completed in the summer of 2014. Based upon the report, the Board created a project proposal was sent out this summer. Materials Conservation of Philadelphia PA will be doing the work this fall.
  • Using our new tripod and repair methods we gained in several workshops, we have been able to repair about 15 broken or fallen monuments in the cemetery. Additional stones will be repaired each year as needed.
  • The Cemetery is currently applying for the repair of a dozen gravestones through the State Program to repair or replace dangerous headstones. If approved the work should be done this fall or the Spring of 2015.
  • A new water and electric line has been run from the Toolshed to the old fountain near section G. This will facilitate work on the Soldiers Monument and aid in the watering of cemetery flower beds and shrubs.
  • An attractive light has been installed near the Cooper plot in Section C. This provides addition security and lighting to the Soldier's Monument area.
  • The Board is currently research the possibility of adding a columbarium to Section L. This will provide an alternative to traditional lots and is becoming more common in cemeteries of all sizes. We would be one of the first in our area to have one.
  • Two years ago we installed water on the tool shed for visitors. This service continues to be available.
  • There were many urns and planters in the cemetery that had not been taken care of for a considerable time. Weeds had grown up and they were very unsightly. They also tended to freeze and break in the winter. We removed the damaged ones, and removed the soil and turned over the ones that were still usable. We provided a barrell with planting soil in Section K for visitors convenience. This service will continue each spring.
  • The Board is currently working on updating our bylaws and cemetery regulations.
  • Due to people leaving their household garbage and animal waste in the garbage cans in the cemetery, we have become a "carry in- carry out" cemetery! We appreciate your cooperation.




Winter 2013

Here are some updates projects and activities at Oakwood Cemetery during the fall and winter months. Please check out our photo album for images of some of these activities.

  • We have begun the process of erecting section signs throughout the cemetery. The signs were done by Don Hooker of Nunda and include the cemeteries logo.
  • Thanks to a donation, the cemetery was able to purchase a tripod and chain hoist that has allowed us to make many of our own gravestone repairs.
  • Repairs to Oakwood Vault and stone pillars were completed. This complete the first restoration projects of historical features in our cemetery.
  • We have begun the process of restoring the 1897 Soldier's Monument. The first step is to have an individual who specializes in historic monuments review the monument and determine the proper procedure. We expect work to be done later in 2013.
  • an historical landscaping plan was submitted by retired landscape architect Richard Brox of Buffalo NY. Mr. Brox donated his services to the cemetery. We hope to begin the process in the vicinity of the Soldier's Monument.
  • Signs indicating that the cemetery is closed from dusk to dawn have been posted at each of the entrances. This was suggested by local law enforcement.
  • A survey of all the boundary lines was completed and reviewed
  • The dying white pine tree just west of the soldier's monument was removed.
  • The cemetery has put the 2013 mowing/maintenance out to bid.



Summer 2012

The Gravestone repair workshop held on July 10, 2012 at Oakwood Cemetery was a great success. Hosted by the Friends of Nunda Cemeteries and the Oakwood Cemetery Association, the afternoon session was led by Dick Miller and Marilyn Nolte of the Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery. Twenty six participants represented cemeteries in Nunda, West Sparta, Dansville, Ossian, Portage, Geneseo and Springwater. The workshop provided a look at the tools and methods needed to repair fallen or broken stones. Four stones were repaired during the three hour session, with Dick and Marilyn talking the group through each of the repairs. After the main workshop, an additional session on proper gravestone cleaning methods was given by Joan Schumaker of the Friends on Nunda Cemeteries. Representatives of the various local cemeteries also had a chance to share their concerns and discuss ways in which they can work together to repair and preserve the local graveyards.

The Oakwood Cemetery Association would like to extend out thanks to Marilyn, Dick, and the Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery for sharing their expertise and enthusiasm (and repairing three of our stones!) We also thank the Friends of Nunda Cemeteries for setting up the workshop.

Go to our album for photograph from the workshop.


Press Release - July 1 2012:

The Friends of Nunda Cemeteries will be hosting a workshop on gravestone repair at Nunda’s Oakwood Cemetery on July 10, 2012. Richard Miller, employee of Mount Hope Cemetery and member of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery will conduct the workshop. The topics will include putting up fallen stones, foundation work, and basic repair techniques for older monuments. Registration will be limited to 25 people. Pre-registration is required and the cost is $15.00 a person. Members of the Friends of Nunda Cemeteries can attend free, but must pre-register. The workshop will run from 1 PM to 4 PM. An additional session on the proper cleaning of gravestones by Joan Schumaker will be held from 4 to 5 pm. For questions and pre-registration information, contact Tom Cook at 585-468-5991 or tscook@rochester.rr.com. For registration forms click here.


Spring 2012

Another busy year has started at Oakwood Cemetery. Here is a summary of some of our recent projects - some completed and others still underway!

  • new rules and regulation signs have been posted at both entrances to the Cemetery. These new signs included updated phone numbers and feature the Cemetery's logo (see above.) Please be sure to read over the regulations on your next visit to Oakwood.
  • our Spring cleanup was successful. The Friends of Nunda Cemeteries, the Oakwood Cemetery trustees, and some other volunteers helped pick up fallen branches and other debris in late April. We also took the opportunity to get some much needed pruning done!
  • the windows on the Cemetery's tool shed have been fixed. Dan Moran of Moran's Glass donated his time and materials to Oakwood. The Association thanks Mr. Moran for his donation.
  • Phase two of the landscaping along the road between Sections L and K are just about complete. New shrubs and trees were planted along the road.
  • The Cemetery is currently getting all of our boundaries surveyed. Grover & Bates of Perry should have the project done by the end of June.
  • Plans are underway to repoint the entrance pillars and Cemetery Vault this summer. The Soldier's Monuments and historic stairways will be next.
  • An inventory of all the trees in Oakwood Cemetery is underway. The work is being done by trustees with the help of Tom Breslin, retired forester and former Park Manager of Letchworth Park. Mr. Breslin is donating his time and expertise to the project. Once completed, the inventory will include a description and evaluation of every tree and shrub on the cemetery grounds. This will help the Association manage and maintain the historic trees in the Cemetery.
  • Planning is underway to begin restoration of Oakwood Cemetery's original landscape. Created in 1865, Sections A through H were laid out in a victorian era "garden cemetery" design. Richard Brox, a retired Buffalo area landscape architect, is currently working with the Association on restoration plans. Mr Brox has graciously offered to donate his services for this project.
  • The installation of water at the tool shed was completed by Tom Hillier. This water is for the public use in watering flowers.


New Lots go on Sale at Oakwood - Press Release of November 7, 2011

The Oakwood Cemetery Association has announced the opening of a new section in Nunda NY’s largest cemetery. Lots in two of the four blocks of the new Section L are now available for purchase, with the remaining two blocks opening in late spring of 2012.

The multi-year project has included a survey of cemetery boundaries the construction of a new roadway with two turnarounds, installation of a new boundary fence, and landscaping. Lot markers were also purchased and installed by the cemetery trustees in late October.

Section L has 134 lots now available for purchase. The cost is $450.00 for a single 5’ X 10’ lot. Individuals and families will be able to choose lots anywhere in the two open blocks. Blocks 3 and 4, to be opened next year, will have an additional 66 lots. Future plans include areas with smaller lots for cremations.

The new section is the latest to be opened in the historic cemetery grounds. The earliest sections, known as OC1 and OC2 (old cemetery 1 & 2), date to the 1820s and 30s. Sections “A” through “I” were opened in 1865 and reflect the garden cemetery movement of the mid 19th century with its winding roadways and paths. Section “J “is known as “the old Catholic Cemetery”, and “K” was opened in the first decades of the 20th century. A map along with addition information on the cemetery is available at www.nundaoakwoodcemetery.org.

The Oakwood Cemetery Association also owns five additional acres on Price Street just west of the present cemetery. Groundbreaking for this area is expected in 2015.

Anyone interested in purchasing lots in Oakwood Cemetery should contact Association Secretary/Treasurer Merilee Walker at 585-468-3492. For other questions, concerns, or to arrange a historic tour of the cemetery, contact Association President Tom Cook at 585-468-5991 or tscook@rochester.rr.com.

Fall 2011

Wrapping up another busy year.....

  • The State repair program was completed in October. In addition to the 29 stones approved and paid for by the State Cemetery Board, we had six addition stones repaired that had fallen over. The cost of these additional stones were covered by the Friends of Nunda Cemeteries, individual donations, and money set aside by the Association to cover the costs.
  • Blocks 1 and 2 of Section L are now laid out and available for purchase. Laying out the lots was done the Trustees at a Saturday aftenoon "party". See our album for picures. 134 Lots have been laid out.
  • Fall leaf raking will be carried out with the help of the Livingston County Sheriff Department work release/ community service project. The Association thanks the Sheriff Departments and the workers for all their help!
  • Please help us by removing your summer plants, pots, and decorations!

Summer 2011

And we thought the spring was busy!

  • Our new mowers have done a pretty good job keeping up this season. LawnWorks in Nunda got this year's contract. You will see Jamie at work throughout the week. We are trying to re-establish the grass on the slopes in the cemetery, so we have asked to let it grow a little longer on the terraces, so please be patient.
  • The Eastman Tree service took down the large white pine near the Richmond Vault in Old Section 2 in August. We were sorry to see the old tree go, but it was in bad condition and had lost several large branches over the past couple of winters. We were concerned that it would come down in a storm and destroy many of our older stones. The company did a fine job and did not damage and stones during the removal of the 120 foot tree!
  • Have you seen the new road between Sections K & L in the southern part of the cemetery? We have completed this year's landscaping, putting in more than a dozen flowering trees and rose bushes along the northern side of the road. Much of this was paid for through last year's donation of $500 raised at Donnie Claud's annual barn dance. We thank Mr. Claud and all those who contributed for helping us with this project!
  • While you are enjoying the new landscaping, be sure to take a look at the new fence along the southern boundary of the cemetery. After having the boundary surveyed and Section L laid out, we had a chain link fence put up along our boundary.
  • We hope to open at least one of the new blocks in L Section this fall. Each lot will be marked, so it will be possible to purchase lots in any part of the block rather than just in the first row
  • The double orange tapes on some stones are far this year's state repair program. We applied two years ago, and we finally were approved for 29 stones. These are stones that the State Cemetery Board feels are possible danger to visitors and workers. The Snyder Brothers of Dansville will be doing the work along with some addition stones that Oakwood Cemetery and the Friends of Nunda Cemeteries will be paying to repair.
  • Despite the dry summer, drainage problems appeared near the west entrance in front of the vault. The Association hopes to install new drainage this fall to correct the problem.
  • We continue to do some much needed pruning through the cemetery.
  • We ask all visitors to please observe the traffic signs in the cemetery. Remember that several of the cemetery roads are one way.
  • Watch for the new water faucet on the work shed in September. The water will be for the convenience of cemetery visitors for watering flowers and plants on the graves. We hope everyone will be considerate when using the water. We will try to leave some jugs near the faucet for visitor's use.
  • PLEASE- follow cemetery rules when placing flowers. We also appreciate your picking up the old pots and flowers when they are old. PLEASE DO NOT PUT DIRT IN THE GARBAGE BARRELS.


Spring 2011

It has been a busy spring in Oakwood Cemetery despite the rainy weather. Here are some highlights:

  • the annual spring cleaning has been completed in both Oakwood and Jones Cemetery. Thanks to the help of the Sheriff's department last fall, volunteers of the Friends of Nunda Cemetery were able to finish the raking and brush cleanup in the cemeteries by the end of April.
  • the Board took their annual tour of the cemetery in April. This gave the trustees a chance to identify problems and concerns.
  • our new mowers have completed their spring work and have started their weekly mowing. This year Nunda's own "LawnWorks" owned and operated by Axel Batlle will be mowing the cemetery
  • The firm of Grover & Bates of Perry NY has completed the plans for Section L in the southern most part of the cemetery. You will notice the survey stakes in the lawn if you drive along the new roadway between Sections K & L. Lots in two blocks of the section will be available for purchase later in the year.
  • When the ground dries the Eastman Tree company will be taking down an old pine tree in OC2 near the Richmond Vault. Although the Association regrets losing any of the cemetery's trees, the tree is in bad shape and could do quite a bit of damage in the cemetery if it fell. We have also done some pruning of other trees in Oakwood.
  • Have you seen the new plantings along the roadway between Section K & l? A special thanks to Trustee Bob Piper for all his hard work in obtaining the trees and bushes and planting them. Please be careful as you drive along the road!
  • At the annual meeting on May 12th, the Board established the following priorities for the 2011 season. This was part of our annual budget process. This year's work will include:
    • landscaping for the new roadway (stage one in 2011, completed in 2012
    • installation of water at tool shed for cemetery use
    • opening of Blocks 1 & 2 in Section L
    • installation of traffic signs and possibly section signs
    • erect a fence along the southern boundary line of the cemetery
    • additional survey work along the cemetery eastern boundary
    • repairs to the Civil War Monument, vault, and entrance pillars
    • annual gravestone repair

February 2011

-Oakwood Cemetery has a new logo! The logo, designed by George Lucas of Nunda reflects both the natural and historical features familiar to visitors to the cemetery. A version of this logo will also be used for the Sesquicentennial.

January 2011

-Oakwood Cemetery launches its new website!

-Highlights of the January 6th 2011 Board Meeting:

  • The board approved the proposal by Grover & Bates Associates of Perry NY to create a proposal for the layout of section L at the southern end of Oakwood Cemetery. This new section should be open by this summer.
  • It was reported that the contractor will finish the new road between K & L in the spring. The edges of the road need to be straightened and adjusted to meet the specified width.
  • Plans were discussed for the ornamental planting to take place along the new roadway this spring/summer.
  • Discussion was held on the purchase of traffic signs, sections signs, and a new sign with the updated cemetery regulations. Trustees will continue to gather quotes and information from various companies.
  • The Association received a bid for the removal of the white pine near the Richmond Vault in OC2. The tree is in poor condition and needs to be removed. It was decided to obtain some additional quotes before the work is awarded.
  • The new cemetery brochure will be printed this spring. Each new lot holder will receive one when they purchase a lot. They will also be available for other lot holders and the general public.
  • The work program from the Livingston County jail did a wonderful job on the fall leaf cleanup in the cemetery! Thanks!
  • The awarding of mowing bids was postponed until the Feb meeting in order to gather more information from the bidders.
  • Oakwood is still on the list to have additional stones repaired in the coming year as the funds become available through the state.

Fall 2010

- The Oakwood Association announces the completion of this year gravestone repair. The Snyder Brothers of Dansville repair 8 gravestones, including several Civil War veteran's markers.