Vale Cemetery has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Cemetery of Excellence award by American Cemetery & Cremation.
"Faced with challenges large and small since its founding in 1857, the nondenominational historic rural cemetery in Schenectady, New York, has been creative in finding solutions to obstacles, responsible in identifying new revenue streams, forward thinking in serving families and responsive to the needs of the community."
Vale featured in American Cemetery and Cremation.
The lavishly illustrated book, “A History of the Vale – Schenectady’s Historic Cemetery” by Don Rittner is still available. For many years, Don was the Schenectady City and County historian.
In the book, he discusses the Rural Cemetery Movement of the mid 1800’s and the development of special areas in Vale Cemetery (Potter’s Field, African American Ancestral Burial Ground, Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery, Millionaires’ Row, the Urban Farm and the Ahmadiya Muslim Cemetery). Each is described and their history explained.
“A History of the Vale – Schenectady’s Historic Cemetery” by Don Rittner
The Schenectady Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution continue work on their project to update the cemetery database. One of the objectives of the DAR is historic preservation, and Vale Cemetery records contain a wealth of information that should be preserved.
Late last fall, a stone was located that did not appear in the cemetery records. Further investigation of the area led to the discovery of 16 additional tombstones that also were not in the records. With permission, these stones were carefully uncovered, many buried deep under the sod.
The cemetery is fortunate to have the Air Force Junior ROTC from Schenectady High School perform volunteer workdays.
In October the students filled the potholes in the dirt road leading to the Green Burial area (The Dell) and planted 6 arborvitae trees along the Moyston Street fence. These trees replaced ones that had been cut down by vandals.
At the Yearly Lot Owners Meeting in June a new slate of board officers were elected. Robert Coan, Board President, resigned and he became an Emeritus board member.
Gordon Zuckerman was elected President of the Vale Board. Mr. Zuckerman is a partner in Murray & Zuckerman Insurance and has served on numerous boards including the Arthritis Foundation, and the Autism Foundation. He has served on the Board of the Niskayuna Volunteer Fire District and the Board of Temple Gates of Heaven, and is a Viet Nam War Veteran.
Vale will observe Memorial Day at 10:30 a.m., May 25th with a formal ceremony.
Taps, a flag raising, and the National Anthem will be on the program. Veterans’ groups representing all military branches will participate. Local dignitaries will speak briefly at the Veterans’ Plot. Participants will assemble at Vale’s main entrance at 907 State St.
The Schenectady Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution held a ceremony to honor the Vietnam era veterans at Vale Cemetery on Vietnam Veterans Day, March 29th.
The 50th Anniversary Commemorative flag was raised on the Vale flag pole and we honored several of the men who died in the Vietnam War and are buried at Vale Cemetery by reading their names and thanking them for their service.
Every few years, Vale has received a used truck as a tax -deductible donation.
A truck would be ten years or so years old and close to the end of its useful life. The vehicle is used only within the ceme- tery/park for picking up branches, leaves, and pulling the trailer for transporting dirt. The most recent contributed pickup truck had to be scrapped.
The Victorian Lady Visits Vale Sunday, November 1st, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.
Sue McLane, the Victorian Lady, will lead a 2 hour guided tour through this historic cemetery as "a woman in mourning for lost ones." Dressed in antique clothing, Sue is an award winning historic interpreter studying the social history of the 19th century as an independent scholar since 1991.A notable woman.
This year’s eight public tours, from April to November, were well attended.
The bus provided by Union College was always filled to capacity and the overflow was accommodated by Vale’s own 25-passenger bus. (Incidentally, the vintage 1989 bus is in need of re-pair. Anyone with mechanical skills would be most welcome to tackle the project.)
The Vale Crematory is the source of 95 per-cent of funds necessary for the cemetery operation. The crematory operates uses liquid propane fuel at a cost of approximately $72,000 per year.
Savings from Natural Gas
Converting the crematory to natural gas would result in a saving of more than $30,000 annually. This change requires bringing a gas line in from Mynderse Street. However, the proposed line is a long distance and the cost would be significant, estimated at $100,000. Financial contributions are needed for this project.
For a few years, the unused land at the Brandywine Ave. section was used as a vegetable garden for the organization Roots & Wisdom.
In a grant-supported program, youths were taught agriculture, food production and nutrition. The youths participating in the program came from urban minority neighborhoods and suburban affluent neighborhoods alike.
Transition Schenectady is partnering with Vale Cemetery to create the Vale Urban Farm.
Please consider helping by donating your time or providing financial assistance. All contributions are tax-deductible.
"All food at the Vale Urban Garden is grown organically, using no pesticides or herbicides. We work together with the cemetery, beautifying our acre to enhance this stunningly gorgeous piece of land and history in the heart of Schenectady. The cemetery is generous with its' resources, helping us out with the use of their facilities in various ways. We couldn't do it without them! Last fall, they bundled and dropped huge bales of leaves that became our winter mulch and will gradually become our fertilizer as well,, keeping them out of the landfill as they enrich our soil."
The 1st Public Tour of the 2014 season at Vale Cemetery/Park will be on Sunday, April 6th at 2 p.m.
Naturalist Amy Reilly Veino will narrate the walk through the 100 acre urban green space and explain the birds species, exotic trees, protected wildflowers, small animals in the park and the aquatic life in the man made lakes of the unique ecosystem.
Clark Adams has served Vale Cemetery for more than 20 years – and as superintendent since 2006.
His family lived in the Vale neighborhood and he began working part-time here while still in high school. Even as he continued his education at Union College, Clark became coordinator of the part-time workers. After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, he advanced to foreman at Vale.
Breadth of Historical Knowledge
Since 1866 we have honored the memories of our loved ones who have served in all the wars and most especially, those who made the ultimate sacrifice to our country. It is also a time to remember departed friends and family.
Again this year, Vale is offering to plant potted red geraniums (three plants per pot) on specified graves, which will last through the summer.
Metroland recently published an article highlighting Vales commitment to green burials.
From the article:
In June of this year, Schenectady’s historic—and nondenominational—Vale Cemetery will offer the second green burial option in the area. Though Vale opened in 1857, there is enough space on its rambling, bucolic grounds to accommodate new burials for a couple of centuries. (Vale currently buries between 30 and 50 people per year, and averages 100 cremated remains per month.) And a beautiful dell on the property is being turned into a meadow for green burials.
You can become a VIP (Vale Important Patron) with a membership in Vale Patrons.
You will receive:
Two newsletters a year
Free tickets for all public tours
Notice of Vale Cemetery Board meetings
Membership levels and fees:
Individual – $25
Family – $50
Supporting – $150
Benefactor – $1000
Please contact Vale’s office for details at 346-0423.
The "Transition Network" will garden in Vale for four years.
Previously, Roots & Wisdom, a program about growing produce and teaching inner-city youths about agriculture and nutrition, maintained a large garden plot in Vale. However, the program was downsized due to decreased financial support, which now leaves some space for other gardening projects.
Thanks to financial support from the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners, Fenimore Asset Management Foundation, and Metroplex; Phase II of the Urban Loop Bike Path in Vale was completed in October. An additional stretch was paved along Millionaires’ Row and the Social Service section.
This will allow the hundreds of Stockadathon runners to enter Vale Park at Nott Terrace and exit Vale Cemetery at Brandywine Avenue. Moving the race from State Street reduces the need for additional police at several intersections and decreases traffic patterns that negatively impact church attendance along the course (note: The run is usually held on Sundays). Many Stockadathon runners lauded these improvements to the course.