City of Cedar Rapids removes historic cemetery wall for road project

A historic wall on the edge of a Cedar Rapids cemetery is now gone.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 7:44 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A historic wall on the edge of a Cedar Rapids cemetery is now gone.

The change is evident from Mount Vernon Road Southeast, along Oak Hill cemetery recently.

The city is removing the wall to make way for a road project that includes widening the road, raising the medians, updating the storm sewer, and putting in new sidewalks.

Save CR Heritage, a nonprofit that works to preserve the city’s history, drew attention to the impending removal of the wall back in November. But the City Council voted to continue with the project.

“It’s very familiar to everyone who’s ever lived in Cedar Rapids for a short time or a long time, and it’s really, it is a little upsetting to see part of it removed,” Cedar Rapids Historian Mark Stoffer Hunter said. “It’s a sense of place for Cedar Rapids, something that that’s been there for, you know, over 115 years now.”

Hunter said he had hoped for a “more creative way” to keep the wall and still have a sidewalk.

He said when the cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places, with the wall being identified as part of the reason. He doesn’t know if the removal of the wall will affect the cemetery’s listing on the register.