Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon


Posted in:

The 2012 tour season at Forest Lawn

So often when you pass by the 269-acre Forest Lawn Cemetery you do just that – pass it by. That’s why it’s so important to note that the historic site now hosts tours seven days a week. There are more tours than ever and there’s even a new ‘trolley’ to give tourists rides in comfort and style. The trolley is handicapped accessible and climate-controlled. 
While there are many organized tours given on a regular basis, we must not forget that self-guided walkabouts are also very popular. Whether on foot or bike, the history of Buffalo can be found on some of the most impressive monuments dedicated to the people who built this city. There is also wonderful public art found in beautiful settings, with fountains, rolling hills and streams, wildlife… there’s even a Sunday in the Cemetery Chapel, Concert and Lecture Series (see special events). 
Sunday In The Cemetery Tours
Back by popular demand, Forest Lawn’s famous Sunday In The Cemetery tours run weekly beginning Sunday, June 3 and ending on Sunday, October 7. These tours are both entertaining and enlightening, and offer guests the opportunity to learn about Forest Lawn from a trained volunteer docent who will talk about its history, art, architecture, landscape and, of course, many of Forest Lawn’s famous residents – some of whom guests will get to meet along the way! All tours take approximately two hours. Guests can choose to ride in climate-controlled comfort on the Forest Lawn trolley at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. (cost is $25) or they can walk through Forest Lawn’s beautiful grounds on the walking tours at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. ($15).  Sensible walking shoes are strongly recommended for the walking tours. Space on all tours is limited; reservations are required.  Call the Forest Lawn office at 716.885.1600 for reservations. Gift certificates are available.
Women’s History Trolley Tour
Offered twice this year, on Sunday, June 24 and Sunday, September 16, at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., the Women’s History Trolley Tours offer guests the opportunity to learn about artists, writers, architects, scientists, doctors, social activists and others who made a difference not only to society in Buffalo, but on a national and international level.  They’ll even meet some of Forest Lawn’s famous women residents, including Marian deForest, Maria Love and Shirley Chisholm. Tickets are $25 per person. Space is limited; reservations are required.  Call the Forest Lawn office at 716.885.1600 for reservations. Gift certificates are available.
Civil War Trolley Tour and Muster In The Meadow
Offered twice this year, on Sunday, July 8 and Sunday, August 12 at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Forest Lawn’s Civil War Trolley Tours are led by Edward Fitzsimmons, who served as a hospital steward for the 155th New York during the Civil War (and is portrayed by Civil War re-enactor, Henry Pogodzinski). Guests will learn about Forest Lawn’s many connections to the Civil War and, along the way will meet a few men and women who will speak of their roles in the Civil War, including Sgt. William Hengerer, Maria Love and Mayor William Fargo. Guests will also see a number of final resting places where noted soldiers from Western New York now lie.  Please note these tours will begin on both dates at the historic Forest Lawn chapel. Tickets are $25 per person. Space is limited; reservations are required.  Call the Forest Lawn office at 716.885.1600 for reservations. Gift certificates are available.
Forest Lawn Tours
Also on these dates, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the public is invited to Muster In The MeadowSM, a Civil War event that is free and family friendly. Held in the meadow next to the historic Forest Lawn chapel, Muster In The MeadowSM features Civil War-related exhibits, demonstrations and displays. Note: it is not necessary to purchase tickets to the Civil War tours to visit Muster In The MeadowSM. 
Behind-the-scenes Trolley Tours
Here’s a chance to see a bit more of Forest Lawn than you’d see on the regular trolley tours.  Join Forest Lawn on Wednesday, June 20; Wednesday, July 18 and Wednesday, August 22 at 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday, September 15 and Saturday, October 13 at 3:00 p.m. as Forest Lawn President Joseph P. Dispenza takes you inside our historic gatehouses, two private mausoleums and hidden chapel tombs, followed by a wine and cheese reception in the historic chapel. Tickets are $50 per person. Space is limited; reservations are required.  Call the Forest Lawn office at 716.885.1600 for reservations. Gift certificates are available.
Inside The Gatehouse Walking Tours
Offered at 10:00 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays from June 4 through October 6, these unique, one-hour walking tours begin at Forest Lawn’s Main Street gates, where guests will view the interior of the gatehouses, complete with an historic 1930s home funeral parlor set up. They’ll then head out onto the grounds to learn about some of Forest Lawn’s permanent residents. No reservations are required for these tours; simply meet at the Main Street gates. Sensible walking shoes are strongly recommended. Cost is $10 per person.
Weekday Trolley Tours
Offered at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from June 6 through October 5, these one-hour trolley tours provide an informative and lighthearted tour through Forest Lawn’s historic grounds on three popular topics (see below).  Tickets are $15 per person. Space is limited; reservations are required.  Call the Forest Lawn office at 716.885.1600 for reservations. Gift certificates are available.
Forest Lawn Tours
Preserving Our Landscape
Join Forest Lawn Horticultural Manager Matt Quirey as he talks about Forest Lawn’s Landscape Renewal Plan, which will return the “forest” to Forest Lawn. Along the way, Matt will point out the many varieties of trees and bushes that grace this beautiful landscape, including seven Bald Cypress trees transplanted to Forest Lawn after the Pan-American Exposition in 1901.
Artwork On The Forest Lawn Canvas
Led by Forest Lawn Interpretive Program Director Sandy Starks, this artistic tour will give guests the interesting stories behind many of the sculptures, statues, fountains and more, created by such artists as Augustus St. Gaudens, Larry Griffis and Charles Cary Rumsey that grace Forest Lawn’s beautiful grounds.
Forest Lawn and the War of 1812
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Forest Lawn Historian, Pat Kavanagh, will share the many fascinating stories connecting Forest Lawn to this historic time on the Niagara Frontier.  Learn about Margaret St. John, Red Jacket, Franklin Square and the Granger family’s role in the War of 1812…and so much more.
Twilight Walking Tours
Offered at 7:00
p.m. on Monday, June 11; Monday, July 16; Monday, August 13; Monday, September 10 and Friday, October 5, these unique 1.5-hour walking tours present Forest Lawn in a whole new light! Guests will learn about cemetery symbolism and will visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Blue Sky Mausoleum, the historic Forest Lawn chapel and other points of interest. Tickets are $15 per person. Space is limited; reservations are required.  Call the Forest Lawn office at 716.885.1600 for reservations. Gift certificates are available.
Collaborative Tours
Forest Lawn is pleased this year to collaborate with several local organizations to present the following specialty trolley tours:
African American History Trolley Tours
Offered twice this year, on Saturday, July 28 and Saturday, September 8 at 1:00 p.m., the African American History Trolley Tour features stops at the graves of notable African Americans such as Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, musician Pete Johnson, Rev. Leeland N. Jones, Jr., and more.  Guests will also visit the plaque honoring Elmira Brockenborough, a two-year-old who was the first recorded interment of an African American by full name in Forest Lawn, and the Grand Army of the Republic lot to see the graves of the 14 African American Civil War soldiers and read the plaque donated in their honor.  At the end of the tour, guests will experience a traditional and touching African libation ceremony. The tours will be conducted by Barbara Nevergold, president of the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier, Inc., Sharon Holley, retired Buffalo Public Library systems administrator, and Sonia Walker, Buffalo teacher and family historian. Tickets are $15 per person. Seating is limited; reservations are recommended.  Please call the Forest Lawn office at 716.885.1600 to purchase tickets.
All Wright All Day Trolley Tours
Western New York affords visitors the rare opportunity to see a variety of Frank Lloyd Wright’s residential, recreational, and monumental designs – both historic and newly constructed.  This tour is offered in collaboration with Martin House Restoration Corp., Graycliff Estate, and Fontana Boathouse on Wednesday, June 13; Saturday, June 30; Friday, July 13; Tuesday, August 7; Wednesday, August 29; Saturday, September 22 and Wednesday, October 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  This all-inclusive tour package begins at historic Forest Lawn, and proceeds by trolley to the Martin House Complex (1903-05) for an extended tour. Next stop is a tour of the Fontana Boathouse (2007) on the Black Rock Canal. After a delicious lunch at the Buffalo Yacht Club, the day continues with an extended tour of the Graycliff Estate (1926-31). The group then returns to Forest Lawn to visit the Blue Sky Mausoleum (2004). A knowledgeable guide will be on hand to point out architectural treasures along the way, including views of the Walter V. Davidson House (1908) and the William R. Heath House (1904-05), private residences designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Tickets are $100 (General Public;) $95 (Members of Martin House and/or Graycliff). Space is limited; reservations are required. Call 716.856.3858 or visit for reservations.
City of Light Trolley Tour
This brand-new tour is offered in collaboration with Preservation Buffalo Niagara on Saturday, October 6 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Visualize Buffalo in 1901 through the eyes of the heroine of Lauren Belfer’s historic novel, City of Light.  Approved by Ms. Belfer, this three-hour tour reimagines the illustrious city of Buffalo during the time of the Pan American Exposition, with its state-of-the-art skyscrapers, electricity and opulent parkways. The tour starts at Forest Lawn, where guests will board the Forest Lawn trolley in front of the historic chapel. The tour will visit notable Buffalo locations as described in the novel and will conclude in the historic grounds of Forest Lawn, where guests will see the final resting places of several illustrious City of Light Buffalonians, including John Larkin, Maria Love and John J. Albright. Cost is $55 (General Public); $40 (PBN Members). Space is limited; reservations are recommended. Reserve your seat by calling Preservation Buffalo Niagara at 716.852.3300 or visit

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

View All Articles by WCPerspective
Hide Comments
Show Comments