Poughkeepsie’s Historic Figures— Still Around Today

A signer of the Declaration of Independence rests in the the Town of Poughkeepsie, on the east bank of the Hudson River. Alongside rests the inventor of the first “practical, power operated” typewriter, the founder of Vassar College, founder of the Bardavon Opera House, and even the former owners of the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz.

In between tombstones and plots lies years of history underground at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. Its beauty has been maintained through the installation of waterfalls and ponds.

In the fall of 2015, the cemetery’s newest project, “The Offering,” was finished. Its elegance and beauty is the perfect spot for those that have been cremated and want to be memorialized. With 408 interior and exterior niche spaces, there are a lot of spots still available for those interested. A bronze statue feature will be coming soon, placed in the middle of “The Offering.”

Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery is the resting place for many generations of families. The Smileys, Livingstons, Joneses, and more local families are buried together. There are specific memorials and monuments dedicated to police, firemen, war veterans — Civil War and Spanish American War have individual memorials.

The oldest known burial is of Henry Livingston. The Livingston family had lived on the property that the cemetery is now a part of. When they still owned the property, they buried the deceased family in the backyard since the idea of cemeteries had not existed yet. Once it the cemetery was built, they donated a plot to the Livingstons, behind the community mausoleum.

To maintain the rural image while the surrounding area becomes urbanized, they have a well taken care of landscaping design. A sundial can be seen at the entrance of the cemetery, donated in 1923. Another historical building is the trolley-waiting center. The now-defunct Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls Railway Company, whose tracks ran along the outside of the cemetery was the reason for the building. A scaled-down replica of the trolley, donated by Mary M. Hinkley in 1904 can be found attached to the wall.

The 165 acres of land belong to Hudson Valley’s only full service cemetery. Offering: cremation services, traditional ground burial, above ground mausoleum entombment, and garden gazebo columbarium.

Livingston Plot, reads “I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE”
Remains of Livingston family tombstones
The Offering
Civil War Memorial
The North Road Cemetery of The Reformed Dutch Church
Tombstone of James Fields Smathers — Inventor of the first practical typewriter
Smiley Family Plot — Owners of Mohonk Mountain House
Plot for Matthew Vassar and his wife — Founder of Vassar College
Plot for James Collingwood — Founded Collingwood Opera House, now known as Bardavon Opera House
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