A new development project is underway at Forest Lawn Cemetery, along Main Street. Workers are clearing the way in order to construct Forest Lawn’s Margaret L. Wendt Archive & Resource Center. Once built, the building will house historic documents and genealogical records. The 3,140-square-foot state-of-the-art center will ultimately be a place to conduct genealogical research and to promote regional heritage tourism. “This is an historic and significant day for Forest Lawn,” says Forest Lawn President Joseph P. Dispenza. “As we celebrate the establishment of the Margaret L. Wendt Center at this very special destination known as Forest Lawn, we are affirming the true value of our cemetery as the great equalizer, as taught to us by Margaret L. Wendt and the way she lived her life. Everyone – great and meek, rich and poor, acclaimed or known only to a few – has been welcomed here for over a century and a half, and now the public will have access to the records of those souls under our perpetual care. The trustees of The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation have created a well-deserved permanent legacy to a woman whose benevolence, fairness and kindness during and after her life is a lesson for all.”
Buried at Forest Lawn are many of Buffalo’s most notable people, who helped to build this city. Thankfully, interment records have been kept since 1849, which helps to tell the story of those buried within the cemetery. It is intended that these records be digitized and easily accessible by the public. In order to create additional accessibility, 250 lineal feet of the cemetery’s fence will be relocated so as to open the center directly to Main Street. The location of the center is next to the Erie County American Legion Veterans Section and across the street from the new Canisius College Science Center.
As for the design of the building*, it was fashioned to mimic the look of Erastus Granger’s original barn that once stood in that location, as part of his homestead prior to 1849. At this point work has begun and is scheduled for completion in late spring 2014.
The project was made possible thanks to major funding from The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation with additional support from The John R. Oishei Foundation.
*Schneider Design Architects PC of Buffalo