Oak Cemetery -- Ft Smith AR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 35° 22.174 W 094° 24.221
15S E 372485 N 3914932
Quick Description: Fort Smith's deeply historic and very peaceful Oak Cemetery is the final resting place for over 11,000 of the dear departed
Location: Arkansas, United States
Date Posted: 1/15/2015 1:34:57 PM
Waymark Code: WMN7Y8
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member Max Cacher
Views: 0

Long Description:
Oak Cemetery was created to serve the needs of this rowdy town back in 1853. Today I is a calm, historic, peaceful oasis in a modern city. It was added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

The nomination form for Oak Cemetery can be accessed through the Preservation Arkansas website: (visit link)

"Summary

Ft. Smith's Oak Cemetery is roughly thirty-five acres in size and contains approximately eleven thousand known burials. The earliest surviving public cemetery in the city of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, the Oak Cemetery contains grave moments and markers ranging from the elaborately-sculpted to the simple and plain. It is laid out in a total of forty "sections" that are separated by a series of unpaved roadways that allow access to the grave sites. The cemetery occupies both sides of a steep ridge that begins near the northern boundary of the cemetery and runs south.

Elaboration

The Oak Cemetery is roughly thirty-five acres in size. It is bounded on the north by Mason Avenue, on the east by South 31st Street, on the south by South "O" Street, and on the west by Greenwood Avenue, on which is located the principal entrance into the cemetery. The cemetery itself is sited on a steep ridge that runs north-south and slightly nearer its western boundary. The forty burial sections are divided by a series of unpaved perpendicular avenues that provide access to each approximately acre-sized section. A small, modern office storage building is included within the nomination, as is a fenced equipment storage area; both are noncontributing.

The cemetery includes two distinct "colored" or African-American burial sections, one older than the other, a broad variety of religious and fraternal burial markers, and several sculpted monuments of artistic significance.

Noteworthy among the artistically-significant grave markers is the Reynolds monument. Marking the grave of Confederate Captain James E. Reynolds and his wife Felicity, the monument consists of a life-size sculpture of two young women supporting a wounded soldier; Below them is the inscription "Lest We Forget" (this depiction was reportedly inspired by an actual event that occurred in Captain Reynolds' life, during the Civil War battle at New Hope, Georgia in 1864. Reynolds had been wounded in the leg, and because his injury appeared to be critical, his comrades left him on the battlefield. His commanding officer sent his two daughters back to retrieve him, and they escorted him safely to the Confederate lines, where he recovered. Though he was not again able to return to the conflict, he was forever grateful to the mercy of these two young women, and thus chose to immortalize them on his grave). The monument was carved in Italy of marble and the base is granite.

Another significant monument is that over the grave of Thomas I. Rogers. This sculpture depicts a female angel, complete with Classical robes and wings, who stands between four and five feet tall. Though sculpted of marble, she stands upon a rectangular granite base that is inscribed with the name of the deceased as well as birth and death dates, and a brief epitaph.

A third sculpture of note is that above the burial of "John Alden Fuller, aged 3 years. Sitting sideways upon the simple marker block is the figure of a young boy, dressed in a smock and holding a flower. This sculpture is also marble. Other markers of note are several large crosses (some quite elaborate), several Woodmen of the World monuments, and a two impressive mausoleums: one for the Echols family and one for the Shaw family. Both are constructed of stone, and the Shaw Mausoleum is accessed via a metal door that has been punched with a series of elaborate designs, all placed around the letters “RIP" The bulk of the remaining historic monuments feature the typical array of obelisks, with larger stone markers and inscribed headstones, all of various types of stone.

The Oak Cemetery contains approximately 11,000 burials; it remains an active burial ground, though the vast majority of the marked graves are historic."
The Name of the Cemetery: yes

City, Town, or Parish / State / Country: yes

Post a Picture of the Cemetery into this Waymark gallery: yes

Approximate number of graves: yes

Visit Instructions:

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Oak Cemetery -- Ft Smith AR 1/16/2015 Benchmark Blasterz visited it