In the mid-19th-century, garden cemeteries like the Albany Rural Cemetery borrowed designs that took a picturesque form, with tree-lined, meandering paths, stonework, and curated plantings.
These cemeteries were meant to be appreciated on foot or through a carriage ride. Founded in 1841, Albany Rural Cemetery serves as the resting place of many famous Adirondack names, including the Pruyns of Santanoni and Ebenezer Emmons, the geologist who reportedly named the Adirondack Mountains.
A new tour will also visit for the first time the historic ca. 1830 “country home” of Casparus Pruyn, the grandfather of Camp Santanoni founder Robert C. Pruyn and a central land and business agent for prominent landowner Stephen Van Rensselaer III.
There, participants will learn about the deeper roots of the Pruyn presence in Albany and get a glimpse at the more urbane architecture that defined the family’s city life before establishing the Santanoni Preserve. The stately home and its surrounding property contain a restored 19th century Buhrmaster Barn and the 1910 Verdoy Schoolhouse.
This outing is led by Albany Rural Cemetery Media Communications Coordinator and Cemetery Historian Paula Lemire, as well as Site Administrator Tami Sherry and Board President Mary Smith from the Pruyn House.
The tour begins at 10 am and ends at 3 pm on Wednesday, September 27, 2023.
The fee is $50 for Adirondack Architectural Heritage, Preservation League of NYS, and Historic Albany Foundation members and $60 for non-members.
Please note that this tour includes about 2.5 miles of walking over mostly flat terrain. For registration, click here.
Museum Reception & Behind The Scenes Event
A special event will be held Albany Institute of History & Art on September 27 from 4 until 7 pm, after the tour.
In this exclusive evening reception at the Albany Institute of History & Art, participants will explore threads that have linked Albany and the Adirondacks for over a century. Guests will gather in the Albany Institute’s Rice House, a stately home designed by Richard Morris Hunt and constructed in 1894.
The home’s original occupants, William Gorham Rice and Harriet Pruyn Rice were related to the Pruyn family, who built Camp Santanoni in Newcomb. The Albany Institute’s extensive collections documenting Upper Hudson Valley life and culture includes the Pruyn family papers, which guests will have the opportunity to peruse.
Today, the Albany Institute continues developing their research and collections through the Albany African American History Project, which shines a light on the Black experience in Albany from 1650 through today. This event will also explore the connections between Black history in Albany and the Adirondacks.
In addition to enjoying beverages and hors d’oeuvres while hearing from Institute historians and curators about their collections and research beginning at 5 pm, guests have the option to arrive early for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Institute’s collections at 4 pm prior to the reception at 5 pm.
Speakers will include W. Douglas McCombs, PhD, interim executive director and chief curator, and Lacey Wilson, public historian.
The fee is $25 for members of Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the Albany Institute, Preservation League of NYS, and/or Historic Albany Foundation and $35 for non-members, including refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
Photo of the Pruyn House in Colonie, NY, provided.