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Since its inception, Forest Lawn has served as a cemetery, park, arboretum, crematory and outdoor museum. Monuments, mausoleums and sculptures have attracted visitors for over 150 years. The first sculpture of Seneca Indian chief Red Jacket was erected in 1851. Red Jacket is depicted wearing the richly embroidered scarlet coat presented to him by a British officer, while on his breast is displayed the large silver peace medal awarded to him by President George Washington.
Forest Lawn Cemetery map in 1908
Every summer Forest Lawn offers "Sundays in the Cemetery" tours, each with a particular theme. Past examples have included the Pan-American Exposition Trolley Tour, Forest Lawn History Trolley Tour, Forest Lawn History Walk, Civil War Bus Tour and the Forest Lawn Nature Walk.
Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Research Center
In 2014, the 3,140-square-foot (292 m2) Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center opened within the cemetery. It is a digitized history center, of interment records maintained since 1849, that features a number of interpretive displays highlighting the notable citizens buried in the cemetery. The building features climate controlled rooms and the design of the building mimics some of the historic structure that once stood at the same site. The staff includes Sandy Starks (Interpretive Program Director), John Edens and Lydia Ortiz. Construction and funding for the Center was provided by The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation along with support from The John R. Oishei Foundation.
In 2004, Frank Lloyd Wright's 1928 design for the Blue Sky Mausoleum was realized. The Mausoleum contains 24 crypts, which can be purchased and memorialized by individual owners. The Blue Sky Mausoleum is one of three Frank Lloyd Wright memorial sculptures in the world. Sculptor David P. Dowler created a Steuben Glass piece in a limited edition of 26, of which 24 are reserved for those who purchase crypts in the Mausoleum. Crypt clients also receive a copy of architectural historian Richard O. Reisem's 2005 book, Blue Sky Mausoleum of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Other mausoleums in the cemetery include:
Burgess-Little Mausoleum – designed by H. H. (Henry Harrison) Little.
Good Mausoleum – constructed for Daniel B. Good, who established the Seibert-Good Company in Chicago, which later consolidated with the Seymour H. Knox stores of Buffalo, N.Y. and finally amalgamated with the F.W. Woolworth Company.
Mitchel H. Mark Mausoleum – constructed for Mitchell Mark, founder of the Vitascope Theater Company
Oberkircher Mausoleum – constructed for Caroline Oberkircher and family.
Pierce (George) Mausoleum – constructed for George N. Pierce who co-founded a company known as Heinz, Pierce and Munshauer for the manufacture of refrigerators, birdcages, iceboxes and bathtubs, until leaving to establish the Pierce Cycle Company, which later became the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Co.
Stachura Mausoleum – constructed for Chester and Gloria Stachura.
Steuernagel Mausoleum – constructed for John Steuernagel, president and board chairman of Kleinhans department store.
Vars Mausoleum – designed by Lawrence Bley and Duane Lyman. Interred are Harry Thorp Vars, Gertrude Waltho Vars, Mary G. Vars, Addison Foster Vars, Addison F. Vars, Jr., Aline Vars, Carlton J. Balliett, Evelyn Waltho Balliett, Jr., Rose Waltho Brown, Bertha W. Barker, and Estelle Noell Reavis.
Walden-Myer Mausoleum – designed by Richard A. Waite for Buffalo's mayor from 1838-39,Ebenezer Walden, and son-in law, Albert J. Myer, recognized by many as the "founder and father" of the US Weather Bureau.