OSWEGO — The Oswego County Historical Society, along with the Friends of Riverside Cemetery, will host a guided cemetery tour of the historic Riverside Cemetery at 4024 County Route 57, Oswego, on June l0 at 1:30 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public.
Pre-registration is recommended due to limited space within tour buses.
To sign up, call the Richardson-Bates House Museum at 315-343-1342.
The Riverside Cemetery was incorporated in 1855, and situated just outside the Oswego city line.
It was designed as a rural cemetery by landscape architect Burton Arnold Thomas.
In the mid-19th century rural cemeteries became a popular choice for a final resting place in a park-like setting on the outskirts of town.
This was opposite the earlier condensed cemeteries which outgrew space in growing neighborhoods.
Also referred to as a garden style, the rural cemeteries were seen as places to visit and enjoy the landscape along with the artistry of the monuments.
The guided tour will highlight various sites throughout the cemetery, which will feature anecdotes about many prominent figures in Oswego history.
A special focus this year will the gravesite of Madame Malvina Guimaraes.
The remarkable monument was commissioned by a Portuguese mason in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1877 and shipped to America.
A new biography about the legendary life story is entitled “The Madame’s Business – The remarkable life and tragic death of Malvina Guimaraes,” written by Oswego native Ann Callaghan Allen.
“Madame Guimaraes has an incredible rages to riches life story more fascinating than fiction,” said Justin White, Oswego County Historian and OCHS board trustee, ”She was a pioneer businesswoman in the mid-19th century who was the first woman to market sewing machines in South America. Her final home was Oswego where she made a lasting impact. Sadly, time has taken a toll on her final resting place and her incredible monument has fallen into disrepair.”
The extensive biography was written as a fundraiser to help restore the monument.
“The initial inspiration came by Oswego civic leader Ruth Sayer, an long-time supporter of Riverside Cemetery,” said White. “It has been a goal for many years to find a way to restore the monument and bring it back to its former glory.”
The book cost is $19.95 and will be available for purchase at the guided tour.
It is also available at the Richardson-Bates House Museum and the River-End Bookstore in Oswego.
All proceeds will go to the restoration fund which is coordinated with the Friends of Riverside Cemetery.
The cemetery tour will begin at the Page Memorial Chapel located at the main entrance of the cemetery.
The chapel was built in 1906 in memory of Alanson and Elsie (Benson) Page as a gift from their family.
The stone building was designed by Philadelphia architect Fielding Mantle in the Gothic Revival style.
The stunning interior windows were designed by Frederick Wilson. a lead designer of Tiffany Studios of New York City.
For its significant historical relevance, the cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.
The Friends of Riverside Cemetery is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the physical beauty of the historic non-sectarian cemetery. The Friends of Riverside Cemetery helps to raise additional funds outside of the annual budget to complete large projects, including the ongoing restoration of the Page Memorial Chapel.
The Oswego County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the rich history of the county. The society maintains and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum, a historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum is open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1-5 p.m. and other days by appointment.
For more information, call the museum during regular hours at 315-343-1342.