Oakwood Cemetery Chapel
Location: Troy, New York
Notable Resting Place: "Uncle Sam" Wilson
Period: 1887 - 1889
National Register of Historic Places
The Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel and Crematorium located in North Troy, was constructed between 1887 and 1889. Designed in the “Richardsonian Romanesque Style” by prominent Albany Architect Albert Fuller of Fuller and Wheeler; the building was commissioned at a time when cremation was not yet widely accepted and the technology was still under development. As cremation technology improved, the building footprint increased to accommodate new systems. Additions were made to the building in 1895 to accommodate new kerosene fuel systems for the retorts, and again in 1973 when it was converted to natural gas. The exterior of the building is constructed of rock-faced rusticated red and white granite walls with a black slate roof featuring pressed copper ridge caps and finials. By 1908, the slate roofing and its associated ornament were removed and replaced with batten-seam sheet brass roofing.
In 2001, MCWB was commissioned to perform a conditions survey. One of the recommendations resulting from this survey was the need for a new roof and roof framing. MCWB provided design services, prepared contract documents, executed public bidding of work and performed construction administration services throughout all phases of the roof and decorative copper restoration work.
In addition, the firm assisted the owner with preservation grant applications and was awarded funds from the National Park Service, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Phase I of the project involved roof replacement of the loggia, chapel and retort facility. Research revealed sufficient information to enable the restoration of original ornamental copper ridge caps and finials; many of which had been removed and discarded during the 1908 alterations. MCWB Architects performed a series of roof probes that revealed the use of sheet lead as a flashing material. Based on these findings, sheet lead was used for all concealed and exposed flashing during the roof restoration.