12 Major Cemeteries in Iowa [Update 2024]

cemeteries in Iowa

Did you know the phrase “sleeping place” comes from the Greek word “koimeterion”? Which is where our English word “cemetery” originates from. Interestingly, the state of Iowa is home to some incredibly old and iconic cemeteries.

You may conduct an obituary search using the information that is stored at the State Historical Society of Iowa, which is another information source. Its holdings include announcements from Iowa’s publications, genealogical materials such as death registers in various counties and church records with death announcements.

Now here is a list of the major cemeteries in Iowa.

1. Oakwood Cemetery

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Oakwood Cemetery is one of the major cemeteries in Iowa

Oakwood Cemetery is located just to the west of Shellsburg on 31st Avenue Drive. The operation of the cemetery is overseen by the Superintendent of Municipal Maintenance and carried out in line with Chapter 115 of the city regulations and per the instructions of the City Council. The burial ground was inaugurated on October 26, 1851, and it extends across 11 acres of land.

The initial burials were carried out in the portion of the cemetery that is situated to the west of the road. In 1972, the west half of the cemetery saw its final interment.

Over 250 soldiers dating back to the War of 1812 and continuing up to the current day are laid to rest at Oakwood, and the local members of the Legion are happy to decorate the cemetery for various patriotic festivals. There is also the burial site of a Civil War warrior who was awarded the congressional medal of honor for his bravery.

2. Woodland Cemetery

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Woodland Cemetery

Since it was founded in 1848, Woodland Cemetery holds the title of being Des Moines, Iowa’s oldest cemetery. This distinction was earned prior to Des Moines’ status as the capital of Iowa. It is a municipal cemetery that is run by the Parks and Recreation Department of Des Moines, which also owns the cemetery.

Over 80,000 people are buried in an area that spans 69 acres and is located near the intersection of 20th Street and Woodland Avenue. Woodland Cemetery is one of the most well-known cemeteries in Iowa.

3. Vegors Cemetery

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The Des Moines and Boone Rivers can be seen from the vantage point of Vegors Cemetery, which was founded in 1849 and is located east of Lehigh off of D26 on Xavier Avenue. Mrs Henry Lott, the first white woman to settle in Webster County in 1846, is commemorated by a white obelisk at the site of her tomb.

At least one of the five mounds on the site was used as a burial ground by the prehistoric people who lived in the woodlands. A stone marker denotes the area of the mounds that is located to the north.

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4. Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery

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In 1878, work began on the Sacred Heart Cemetery, which is located within the Catholic Calvary of St John’s Parish. In the city of Newton, Iowa, you may find it near the intersection of South 12th Avenue West and West 28th Street, South.

In 1876, a parcel of land comprising approximately 2 acres was given over for use as a cemetery. It is paved, surrounded by a fence with a gate and kept in good condition. Sacred Heart Cemetery is home to more than 400 graves. The condition of the stones ranges from satisfactory to satisfactory.

5. Union Cemetery

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Union Cemetery

On the outskirts of Humboldt lies a spot called Union Cemetery, which is both picturesque and quiet. Its population is made up of people of varying ages, ranging from the pioneers who first settled the region to the loved ones of today. It is a wonderful spot to investigate and pay a visit to in order to think back on the lives of those who came before us.

6. Hickory Hill Cemetery

The Hickory Hill Cemetery may be found in Clinton County, Iowa, within the 25th section of the Waterford Township. It is approximately two and a half miles east of Charlotte, Iowa on route 136, and then approximately three quarters of a mile back off the highway in a forested area on a hill. This cemetery is known as the Pioneer Cemetery, and they are doing a amazing job of maintaining it.

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7. Fairview Cemetery

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Fairview cemetery may be reached by the people at any time during daylight hours and is accessible to those with disabilities. There is also parking available on the street nearby.

8. Blake Cemetery

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The cemetery can be found on top of the hill, to the south of the farm drive and on the other side of the stream. On the left is a region covered in trees, and on the right are agricultural lands. It is possible to make out nine stones. Virginia Rector and Helen Blake were the first people to be laid to rest in 1879.

9. Blue Point Cemetery

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In the graveyard of the Blue Point Christian Union church, which had been established in 1863, the town of Upper Blue Point was mapped out in 1869. Stones have been found that date back to the year 1675. According to the WPA data, north should be used.

10. Harper Cemetery

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The gate at the road leading into the westbound lane leads to this cemetery. Placed on land that was held by William and Mary Boswell and had been utilized as a burial place for a significant amount of time prior to the date when the trustees of the township acquired it for the sum of one hundred dollars on March 28, 1867. Because a family with the last name Harper had resided on the property that was adjacent to the cemetery, locals referred to it as the Harper Cemetery.

In 1974, out of the 165 names that were read from the graves, 43 belonged to people who had passed away before the land was purchased by the township. People who had previously resided in Parke County, Indiana, and then moved to Agricola (now Barnes City) and became members of the Primitive Baptist Church were responsible for some of the early fatalities that occurred during this time period.

There is one Revolutionary War soldier buried there, in addition to two men who served during the War of 1812. It is believed that the graves of Lewis and Deborah Barnes were transported to Barnes City, since stones for them were discovered in both this cemetery and the cemetery in Barnes City.

11. Keokuk National Cemetery

Keokuk National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located in the city of Keokuk in Lee County, Iowa. It encompasses 22.7 acres, and as of 2021, had over 6,000 interments. It is administered by Rock Island National Cemetery.

12. Huston Cemetery

Once know as the “little cemetery in the middle of the road”, Huston Cemetery is a historical cemetery located at the intersection of 88th Street and Mills Civic Parkway. The tiny burial plot is named for James B. Huston, who arrived in Iowa about 1847. The Huston family was one of the first to settle in Dallas County, and James B. Huston was the first Dallas County attorney. The family home served as a stage coach station, tavern and post office and is still standing nearby.

The State Association for the Preservation of Iowa Cemeteries was established in 1996 as a direct result of legislation that enabled each of Iowa’s 99 counties to establish a County Cemetery Commission. This law provided the impetus for the formation of the State Association.

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