City Cemetery Gets New Gravestones - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

City Cemetery Gets New Gravestones

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For around a century, gravestones for a group of people buried in Scott County's oldest cemetery have been missing. Now, in time for Memorial Day, markers have been added to commemorate the lives of almost 30 individuals put to rest at the Davenport City Cemetery. The Davenport Parks and Recreation Department funded the new stones with under $2,000. The budget is part of the cemetery's restoration project, which has been in the works since 2006. Officials also opened the caretaker's cottage to the public on Sunday and Monday.

"This is the first time it's ever been open," said Kory Darnall, a volunteer with Davenport parks. He says almost 150 people came to the cemetery over the two days for the rare opportunity. Darnall was there to answer questions, exposing visitors to various documents about local history.

"And just look at the cemetery, see some of the improvements," Darnall said. "I would say 95% of the burials in this cemetery are of folks of German heritage."

The 28 people buried in the two plots, a mass grave, between 1890 and 1900, were all members of the German Benevolent Association.

"You would pay in a small amount every month, a dime or a nickel, and then when you or a family member passed away, you could be buried in the association grave plot," Darnall said.

He says the two foundations for the group's shared headstones were there, but the markers themselves had been missing.

"We don't know exactly what happened to them," he said.

Now, they've added two new granite gravestones, around $900 each, and a magnolia tree to mark their lives.

"On the markers is a general statement because we couldn't put the name of everybody that's buried," he said.

The stones are engraved with "hier Ruhen Unsere Lieben," which means "here rest our loved ones" in German.

On this Memorial Day, Darnall says all people who have passed away should be remembered.

"It was the right thing to do to commemorate these people's lives, even if they were very short lives, as most of them were stillborn children, or children who lived to be less than a year old," he said.

The Davenport City Cemetery renovations continue with plans for marking a Swiss-American illustrator's life with a gravestone this fall. Although there are no concrete plans to reopen the cottage any time soon, the cemetery is always open.

"There's no picnic tables or playground equipment, but it's a different type of entertainment," Darnall said.

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