Nyack Walking Tour: Oak Hill Cemetery

After our visit to Carson’s McCullers’ grave a few weeks back, we’d noticed the Friends of the Nyacks leads a full-on tour of the cemetery, where you can find such famous remains as Edward Hopper and Helen Hayes as well as that of plenty of Nyack notables.  We signed up. It was a lovely outing on a spring day.

The tour’s motley crew of participants:

Here is one of the first interesting headstones we saw. I’m spacing on her name at the moment, but it belongs to a famous singer who lived in Nyack:

A beautiful view of the Hudson River:

Tallman is a historical name in Rockland. There is a Tallman State Park, for instance.

Here is the marker for John “Zoot” Sims, a famous jazz tenor saxophonist. It makes no mention of his musical career.

Pretty spring flowers:

A woman came to the tour from Staten Island to announce that she was living in a home on the waterfront once owned by William Alexander Smith. He was president of the New York Stock Exchange and a great philanthropist, she said.

Some funny sayings on these headstones:

On the big one it says “School is Closed.” On the little ones, it says, from left to right, “Graduated; I Still Living,” “Went Home,” and “Went Home.”

There are a number of zinc headstones in the cemetery. You can tell because they are a whitish-green color. They stopped making these in the 1920s or so.

This one has an anchor on it:

Greg and I noticed a number of headstones that we’d like to make etchings from. A couple more:

Some beautiful script from the Koran:

Sour Cherry Farm is on property that formerly belonged to the Hand family, and we live four lots from the Hand Mansion:

Greg joins the gang:

Some cool-looking headstones:

This one was rather sad. “Mamma’s Boy: Drowned Aug. 5, 1881.”

Harrison and Dalley were the last names of two men who owned a department store in downtown Nyack where the old Woolworth’s used to be. They were such great friends that they buried their families together with an enormous marker in the center:

Were you waiting for the celebrities? Here you go. Edward Hopper and his family:

Famous screenwriter Ben Hecht:

Charles MacArthur, writing partner of Ben Hecht and husband of Helen Hayes:

Mary MacArthur, Charles and Helen’s daughter, who died of polio as a teenager:

(Not the girl scouts marker, too.)

And Helen Hayes:

Well I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed this pictorial of the walking tour of Oak Hill Cemetery. The Friends of the Nyacks lead tours twice a year, in spring and fall. You can find out when the next one is by visiting its web site: FriendsoftheNyacks.org.




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