Gardner Earl Chapel

Oakwood Cemetery

Troy, NY

The Earl family was one of the prominent families in the collar and cuff industry during the last half of the 19th century. Their only son, who died at age 37, wanted to be cremated. At that time there was no crematory in the area and they had to take the body to Buffalo for its cremation. The Earls decided to create this lovely chapel in his honor and for others who would like to be cremated. They hired Arthur Fuller, a renowned architect at that time(1887), and gave him instructions to create the strongest building possible. All invoices were destroyed at its completion in 1889 so there are no historical records available. A list of contractors is available so we know the windows in the chapel itself were done by the Tiffany company.

A trust was created to help run the chapel but the income from it is not enough to maintain this lovely building. At this time there is a campaign to raise $3 million dollars to protect the building which has sustained a great deal of water damage in recent years. This is not enough to repair the stain glass windows as well.

Terri Page, the historian at the Gardner Earl Chapel, explains that the ashes of the Earl family are buried here in this small altar with Gardner Earl in the center. The above picture is a close up of the altar visible in the picture at the left.

Sienna marble, pink champagne marble and Mexican onyx were used for the pillars and the decorative areas. Because there were no heavy duty tools with which to carve, Scottish sandstone was used for the areas where there are fancy carving.

The rose window at the left is from the ceiling at this end of the chapel. Its center is made up of many examples of jewel glass. The brighter quadrant can possible be explained by the fact that the outer layer of the window has fallen off.

The picture below shows some of the water damage to the North wall and to the capitol of sculptured Scottish sandstone.


These are two of the side windows, which are from the Tiffany Company. Notice that the much of the windows are the same with different designs in the center. The one above has grape ivy and the one at the right contains doves. Water damage is also visible here with the sections of upper window being bowed outward.

Tiffany experimented with using a number of layers to create the depth of color which he desired. These layers are held together with bars of lead and can be of different thickness. These windows also contain excellent examples of jewel glass.

This is a closer look at the detail at the bottom of each of the side windows. Although not readily visible there are examples of jewel glass along the yellow wavy line at the bottom - the roundish detail above and below the curves. The blue row at the top is also of jewel glass.

The detail at the right shows the large yellowish jewel at the center of the cross as well as some of the leading contained in the window.