On a chilly and gray Friday, my friend and I got lost in a cemetery. Kensico Cemetery. Kensico Cemetery was a stop on the New York Central’s Harlem Division, but was finally closed in 1983 when Metro North electrified the line north of White Plains. The original station building was completed in 1890, but was expanded and partially rebuilt in 1936.

A 1902 article from the New York Tribune showing pictures of the new station buildings at Pleasantville, Kensico, and Scarsdale.

The Cemetery is located down the street from where I work, and I convinced my friend to accompany me on a lunch break adventure. After driving up and down the winding streets of the cemetery, we finally found the former train station house, the current cemetery administration building. We headed inside to get warm, and to find a map. The lady inside was cheerful to help us on our quest to find some famous dead people, but inside I’m certain she thought we were nuts. She handed my friend and I a stapled packet labeled Kensico Cemetery Historical and Scenic Tour.

An old photograph of the Kensico Station building, from an 1895 Book, Health and pleasure on “America’s greatest railroad.”

What the station building looks like today.

Buried in the cemetery are quite a few famous people, including Alfred Holland Smith, who was the president of the New York Central. He died in 1924 in a freak accident in Central Park. Ayn Rand is another person buried in Kensico. Although she is not directly related to the railroad, she did research into the New York Central railroad while writing her book, Atlas Shrugged. Not only was she allowed to ride in the locomotive of the 20th Century Limited train, they allowed her to drive it. The character from the book, Nat Taggart, is supposed to be modeled on Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Final resting place of Alfred Holland Smith

Additional pictures from our adventure:

If you’re interested in going to the cemetery yourself, I’ve scanned the map that I was given at the administration office. The entire packet is a nice read though, with historical information on the people and explanations on how to find each of the memorials. I suggest stopping in to the office to grab a copy, since the people are quite nice. If you’d rather skip it though, this map should assist.

8 Responses

  1. did you have to add my photo?

  2. Towny says:

    Even more interestinjg is the Gate of Heaven Cemetery next to Kensico and the famous people buried there like Babe Ruth.

    • Emily Moser says:

      This is true… though I swear I went to the Cemetery in the first place for the rail interest and seeing the old station. Seriously. I don’t normally hang out in cemeteries or anything :P

  3. Towny says:

    Have you checked out the Dutchess county rail trail or the walking path on the old rail bridge over the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie?

  4. Sheryl says:

    Back in my gothic phase of the early 90’s, I visited many cemeteries, this being one of them. I still have those photos somewhere… I remember it being beautiful but I didn’t get to see that gorgeous Tudor building. And I had no idea about the Metro North station history!

  5. Amy says:

    Have you checked out the Dutchess county rail trail or the walking path on the old rail bridge over the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie?

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