First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced today that the Town of Fairfield received a check in the amount of $5,000 to maintain and preserve Fairfield’s historic cemeteries. First Selectman Tetreau said, “As a community that takes great pride in honoring our history and keeping alive the legacy of our dearly departed residents, many of whom made our town the special place it is today, I am very appreciative of this generous donation. I want to congratulate Oak Lawn on celebrating its 150th anniversary and thank its dedicated Association for all the good work it does for our Town.”
To commemorate Oak Lawn Cemetery Association’s 150th anniversary of serving Fairfield and surrounding communities, Bronson Hawley, President of the Association’s Board of Directors, and board members Judge Dan Caruso and Town Clerk Betsy Browne, presented the First Selectman with this donation at a recent photo ceremony.
“We are delighted to make this gift to the Town which is to be used solely for the maintenance and preservation of Fairfield’s historic cemeteries. Preserving and honoring our community’s past is a sacred and privileged obligation for all of us at Oak Lawn. We look forward to working with the town in the future to help manage and maintain Fairfield’s historic cemeteries” stated Mr. Hawley.
The Town’s historic cemeteries include the West Cemetery on the Post Road, the Old Burying Ground on Beach Road, and the Greenfield Hill Burying Ground on Bronson Road and the East Cemetery on the Old Post Road.
Town Clerk Browne said, “It is wonderful that Oak Lawn is able to provide the Town with this donation to ensure our historic cemeteries are well maintained to provide a proper environment to honor our Town’s decedents.”
Judge Caruso added, “For 150 years we have provided for the deceased and their families with dignity and respect, and are truly fortunate that by this gift we might extend that heritage to other’s in this community.”
A 150 Year History Of Oak Lawn Cemetery:
Situated on 100 acres near Bronson Road, Oak Lawn Cemetery, which was named after a stately White Oak tree that stood near its entrance, has a special and unique history. The Oak Lawn Cemetery Association was established in 1865. Oak Lawn’s founding leaders’ vision to make this sanctuary much more than a cemetery is carried on by today’s association members.
In its early years, the cemetery also served as a botanical garden and historical society. As more acreage was acquired throughout the years, the cemetery continues to be an inviting sanctuary and only one of two designated arboreta in the State where visitors feel at peace as they are surrounded by the beauty of the open, park-like setting with numerous trees including oak trees, which are the symbol of immortality and dogwoods, as well as wetlands, wildlife preserves, an apiary near the herb garden, and historic monuments including the new Veterans Memorial.
Many well-known Fairfield residents who served an important part of the Town’s history played various key roles at the cemetery. Arthur Osborn Jennings served as the Association’s first president. William O. Burr, Oliver Gould Jennings, Jr., and J. Walter Perry are just a few examples of past Board of Director Chairs. The current chairman is David S. Huntington whose family has served Oak Lawn since the cemetery’s founding.
Other Fairfield icons like Mabel Osgood Wright who played a key role in the maintenance and landscaping of the cemetery and Annie Burr Jennings, who like Mabel Osgood Wright, is also a member of the Town’s founding families, shaped the future of the cemetery.
The cemetery has a long-standing tradition of having partnerships with key community groups and organizations like the Arbor Day Foundation, The Fairfield Garden Club and Fairfield Museum and History Center to promote the importance of conservation and education
Many well-known and respected individuals chose Oak Lawn as their final resting place. They include Michael J. Daly, a U.S. Army infantry captain during World War II who received the Congressional Medal of Honor; Jason Robards, Jr., a well-known screen and stage actor who won numerous awards; Mable Osgood Wright, writer, environmentalist and wildlife activist who founded the Connecticut Audubon Society and Birdcraft Sanctuary; and Virginia Marquand Monroe who founded the Pequot Library. The cemetery is also the final resting place of over 1200 veterans.
The photo shows Board Member Judge of Probate Dan Caruso, First Selectman Mike Tetreau, President of the Association’s Board of Directors Bronson Hawley, and Board Member Town Clerk Betsy Browne.