This is a page from the finding aid of the Papers of Vernon
Thompson. During his thirty-year
career at Forest Lawn he served as Treasurer, Assistant Secretary, and from
1961, until his retirement in 1969, as Executive Vice President. He was also a member of the Board of
Trustees. Because Thompson was
involved in every aspect of cemetery operations, his papers are a unique
insight into Forest Lawn from 1939 until 1969. The collection is processed to
the folder level. I am giving an overall view of what is in each folder, but
not each individual item.
The Papers of Vernon Thompson contain many photographs that
Thompson took of Forest Lawn. A large number of the photographs, such as these from 1952, illustrate
the landscape. Photographs were
also taken to document maintenance activities or accidents that occurred on
cemetery grounds. Here are two photos, one of the Admin building at the corner of Delaware and Delavan, and one of the monument to Red Jacket. The collection is filled with black & white photographs Vernon would glue to loose leaf pages.
Forest Lawn was impacted by Buffalo’s transition to the era
of the automobile in the post-World War II years. In 1946 the Buffalo City Planning Commission proposed
building a “thruway” that would cut a wide swath through the city including the
Delaware Avenue entrance to Forest Lawn.
Thankfully, this plan and another that would have created a tunnel
beneath Delaware Avenue from Cleveland to Potomac Avenues never materialized.
This letter, dated June 1946, was sent to Forest Lawn lot
owners with a copy of the map. The Board of Trustees wanted lot owners to be
aware of the impact of the proposed road would have on Forest Lawn.
This is one of numerous drawings made for Forest Lawn by Ray
F. Wyrick, a national landscape architect and cemetery designer. The drawing of the area around the
Grand Army of the Republic monument was made in 1944.
When I started this collection, the folders were cataloged in
alphabetical order in two filing cabinets, which consisted of 3 drawers each.
By the time the collection was re-housed in proper archival quality boxes the
collection was 12 boxes. The numbers of the folders match the folders in the