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Annie Edson Taylor birthday celebration

by jmaloni
Fri, Oct 19th 2012 07:00 am

The historic Oakwood Cemetery, the second oldest cemetery in Western New York, will hold its annual celebration of Annie Edson Taylor's birthday from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 21.

The celebration is free and open to the public. Children under age 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Entries in the "Annie" Student Coloring Contest and the Oakwood University "Shutterbug" Photo Contest will be displayed.

Fundraising sales will include Niagara Honeymoon Sweets, the "Annie" Book, "Annie" postcards, and a raffle for "Night Comes Falling," an award-winning photo capturing the majesty of the Falls in a contemporary setting by photo-artist Barbara Maloney.

Activities include:

Noon - Opening remarks and presentations, commemoration of the Edsonmobile donated by Elsie Edson; and a special presentation of a Civil War Campaign Medal.

1 p.m. - Re-enactment at Annie's gravesite by Teresa Lasher-Winslow.

2:30-3 p.m. - Results of the coloring and photo contests announced.

Annie Edson Taylor came to Niagara Falls in October 1901 to pursue her life goal of becoming famous and rich. Annie was the first woman to go over the Horseshoe Falls in barrel and live to tell about it. She was very poor at the end of her life and died in Niagara County Infirmary on April 29, 1921. She was buried in "The Stunters Rest" area of Oakwood Cemetery through the generosity of a public fundraiser.

In early 1980, The Bay City (Michigan) Chamber of Commerce expressed interest in having Annie Edson Taylor's remains returned to the city where she once taught school and created the idea to perform her famous stunt and designed her barrel.

However, a Niagara Falls group had other ideas. Teresa Lasher (Winslow) founded "The Remaining Friends of Annie Taylor," a group of local historians who took steps to keep the gravesite in "The Stunters Rest" at Oakwood Cemetery. A struggle of wills developed between the two cities and the two groups until it was decided that Oakwood Cemetery would be Annie's resting place.

The site of Oakwood Cemetery was originally part of the Town of Niagara. Sue Fulle and Dorothy Rollins are the two Town of Niagara residents currently on the board of directors for Oakwood Cemetery.

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