Walden-Myer Mausoleum


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Walden-Myer Mausoleum
Forest Lawn Cemetery
Buffalo, New York

Constructed in 1857, the Walden-Myer mausoleum is basically Romanesque in form, but there are a number of curious details. Although the structure’s rough ashlar masonry, double columns, cavernous arched doorway, and square shape make it appear formidable and cold, carved acanthus leaves that flank the steps and a bulbous sphere crowning the top add a touch of whimsy.

Although the round orb atop the mausoleum symbolizes God’s sovereignty over heaven and Earth, ironically, the globe presaged the career of Albert James Myer (1829-1880). When Myer traveled in the west in the1850’s, he observed Indians signaling each other by waving pieces of cloth. He applied what he had seen and invented the ingenious “wig-wag” system of signaling. In 1860 he became the Army’s first officer of the newly formed Signal Corps.

After the Civil War, the Signal Corps became responsible for weather reporting, and Myer helped popularize a system of predicting the weather by using telegraph reports assembled from different areas of the country. The Weather Service, administered by the Signal Corps, was officially inaugurated by an act of Congress in 1870, and remained a function of the Army until 1890 when the civilian Weather Bureau was established.

Albert J. Myer’s alias “Old Probabilities” was one of the best known personages in the United States in the 1870’s. Every day in the 1870’s, most major newspapers would carry a note supplied by Myer’s department which would read, “it is probable that….,” followed by that day’s prediction.

Also sharing the mausoleum with Albert Myer are his wife, Catherine Walden, four of their six children, and members of the Walden family including Catherine’s father, Ebenezer Walden (1777-1857), Buffalo’s first lawyer, a Buffalo judge, mayor, and real estate developer, and, presumably, the de facto builder and first occupant of the mausoleum. According to the Maine Granite Industry Historical Society, the monument is made of Hallowell granite.

Text and copy © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”Walden-Myer Mausoleum” street=”1411 Delaware Ave” city=”Buffalo” state=”New York” zip=”14209″]

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