Des Moines anticipates 20K cemetery visitors this Memorial Day
About 20,000 people will visit Des Moines cemeteries between now and June 1, city officials estimate.
Zoom in: There are more than 350 acres of burial grounds at seven municipal cemeteries: Woodland, St. Ambrose, Glendale, Oak Grove, Laurel Hill, Sims and Elm Grove.
🪦 State of play: DSM's cemetery system averaged just over 550 annual burials over the last five years, according to city data.
- There were 177,254 total interments as of May 4.
Between the lines: Nearly 600 volunteers donated about 3,300 hours last year to fix, improve and restore the grounds or monuments.
The intrigue: The oldest is Woodland, which was planned prior to the 1851 incorporation of the town of "Fort Des Moines."
- Burials include hundreds of unknown orphans on "baby hill," where they were stacked on top of each other in crate-like caskets in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
- Former Iowa Gov. Samuel Merrill, early DSM settler Hoyt Sherman and Drake University founder George Thomas Carpenter are buried at Woodland.
1 cool thing to go: You can take a self-guided tour and watch short videos about some of the people buried at Woodland on your phone.
- Plus, seasonal guided tours are available, including one that focuses on notable women of DSM ($10).
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