In 1940 three men – Magnus E. Edwards, Arnold Wyatt, and Harry G. Williams – and two women – Edna B. Wyatt and Roehel G. Edwards – envisioned a memorial park providing dignified and beautiful resting places for the residents of Colonie and the surrounding communities.
The memorial park would take advantage of the rolling hills in the then rural Colonie, just west of the Albany Airport and adjacent to the Shaker Historical Site. The park would consist of approximately 200 acres, including the highest point in Colonie from which one could view the Helderberg and Taconic mountain ranges.
Today, Memory Gardens consists of 24 landscaped gardens covering 100 developed acres with 80,000 individual burial spaces. Memory Gardens owns 100 undeveloped acres that will accommodate 100,000 more burial spaces.
To realize the potential of Memory Gardens’ pastoral setting, enhancements – including sandstone features depicting the last Supper and Good Shepherd – were added over the years. Two fountains were added: one at the entrance that has recently been replaced, and a much larger one just inside the park’s stately gates. Memory Gardens is graced by two ponds that attract a variety of wildlife including geese, ducks, and deer.
In 1970, a beautiful stone chapel was built thanks to contributions from lot owners. In 1978, the Schulmerich Carillon Bells and Tower were erected, and still ring out over the park daily.
As Memory Gardens grew, two mausoleums were added for above-ground entombment: the Briarwood Fernwood Mausoleum in 1985 and the Edgewood Mausoleum in 1991. As cremation has become more popular, Memory Gardens has added numerous cremation niches throughout the grounds.
Today, with the help of a small group of dedicated volunteers, Memory Gardens continues the tradition of its founders: “Dedication to the dignity of mankind.” Embellished by pastoral settings among the rolling hills of now suburban Colonie, Memory Gardens has become the Capital Region’s premier memorial park.