Cemeteries not likely to be 'forgotten' in Iowa
Reporter: Kate Gross
A California graveyard that contains the body of a former Dubuque Civil War
by KATE GROSS
Dubuque native Dave Hoffmann was reading his Civil War magazine when he
As the avid Civil War re-enactor and history buff continued to read about the 2,298 graves on the grounds, he recognized the name of Maj. Gen. William Vandever, from Dubuque, as one of the people buried in the Ventura cemetery, along with at least 55 other Civil War veterans."I've known quite a bit about Iowa history and I recognized the name,"Hoffmann said. "My revulsion increased quite a bit."
General Vandever moved to Iowa in 1851 and began practicing law in Dubuque. He was a member of the 36th and 37th Congresses and became colonel of the Ninth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry in 1861. Vandever died in 1893 and then was buried in Ventura Cemetery.
According to Steve Schleder, an architectural restoration specialist from Ventura who is heading the movement to restore the cemetery, in 1955 the city built a recreation center and parking lot directly on top of several of the graves. The foundation of the center crumbled in 1970 and it was torn down, but the parking lot and grassy park area remain today."The cemetery is now a dog park where the graves of 3,000 of our ancestors are daily (expletive) on," Schleder said. "I was horrified when I found out about this."
Ventura city officials are debating options for the park, including the possibility of constructing a memorial bearing the names of all those who are buried there.
"I think laws need to be changed, not only in California but I think
Dubuque needs to re-examine its polices," Hoffmann said. "Could this happen
in Dubuque?" Apparently the answer is "no." Thanks to several state laws and the
Iowa Burial Protection Program, the cemeteries of Dubuque should remain safe
Copyright: Copyright 2005 Telegraph Herald