By LMQC Outside blogger Wade Ellett
Hooray for autumn! That means enjoying my favorite outdoor activity, hiking!
Leaves are changing color and falling. Sweaters are coming out of storage. Pumpkin spice is in everything. And of course it means Halloween, my very favorite holiday!
Putting it all together, it’s the perfect time for a Quad-City cemetery hike!
We have amazingly beautiful and hilly (for cardio buffs) cemeteries in our community.
They’re serene and quiet places, and you’ll find some spectacular and famous gravesites belonging to some interesting people here in the Quad Cities.
Just be respectful of where you are, and keep in mind that others may be there mourning. Be cool.
I’ve included coordinates you can plug into Google Maps for many of these spots if you have trouble locating them. They won’t be exact, but they’ll get you pretty close.
If you have the time, however, I recommend wandering a bit and seeing what you can find.
You can also check out the photo gallery below of even more amazing grave sites and views.
Riverside Cemetery, Moline
Riverside Cemetery boasts an impressive view of, you guessed it, the Mississippi River! The rolling hills make for a beautiful day of exploration. It’s also the final resting place of perhaps the Quad Cities’ most famous resident, and other interesting figures.
GPS: 41.507556, -90.491944
I first moved to the Quad Cities to work as a digital archivist in the John Deere archives, so I’m a fan of Deere family history, and I’ve been to the Deere family plot overlooking the river. I highly recommend that you take the time to visit!
GPS: 41.504383, -90.494108
You may not know Louie’s name, but chances are you’ve heard his work. He was an American Jazz drummer credited with introducing the use of 2 bass drums. He played with greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, just to name a few.
Oakdale Memorial Gardens, Davenport
Established in 1856, Oakdale is home to graves dating back to the Victorian era. You’ll find plenty of local history here, as a number of individuals responsible for the development of the area were laid to rest here.
George L. Davenport
GPS: 41.546533, -90.548600
Son of Colonel George Davenport (interred at Chippiannock Cemetery), George L. Davenport grew up playing with the local Native Americans, and could speak Fox and Sac fluently. He would eventually help organize the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company, become the president of the Davenport National Bank, and serve as the Indian Agent for the Sac and Fox Indians under President Hayes.
Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke
GPS: 41.546450, -90.547950
Another jazz great, Bix hailed from Davenport, and came to be one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s. Sadly, at the time of his death, Bix was well-known by fellow musicians but largely unknown to the public. Today his is celebrated as an innovator of early jazz, and we hold a festival and run in his name every year!
Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island
Chippiannock Cemetery is a little different than the other cemeteries in this post. Like Riverside and Oakdale, it’s full of local history and beautiful landscapes, but Chippiannock is on the US National Register of Historic Places due to the landscape design, and hosts magnificent examples of art and architecture.
Colonel George Davenport
GPS: 41.481502, -90.579070
Born George William King in Lincolnshire, England, Colonel George Davenport (father of George L. Davenport interred in Oakdale Memorial Gardens) was one of the earliest settlers in Rock Island. Davenport founded Farnhamsburg with Russell Farnham, which would grow into present-day Rock Island.
GPS: 41.481758, -90.578133
In autumn 1878, an outbreak of diphtheria swept through Rock Island. Tragically, 8-year-old Josie Dimick and her 5-year-old brother, Eddie, died on the same day, October 22.
Legend has it that the family’s loyal Newfoundland was so grief-stricken by the loss of the children, that he followed the Dimicks’ carriage to the cemetery and laid on their graves from sunrise to sunset. He returned every day until his own death 2 years later.
At that time, the children’s parents commissioned this memorial honor of the loyal pet. The loving dog’s name has been lost to time, but has come to be referred to, affectionately, as Rex.
I’ve only scratched the surface of the “bootiful” art and local history that you’ll find in Quad Cities cemeteries. Consider these 3 a starting point, then continue exploring on your own. If you find or have found something interesting, share it with us! I hope you enjoy stepping back in time this month, but if cemeteries aren’t your particular cup of tea, don’t worry, we’ll be exploring some different places next month.
Enjoy the autumn everyone and Happy Halloween!
|Meet Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoor Blogger. Wade is an outdoor adventurer who shares his passion for QC outdoor adventures here! Read his other posts by clicking here.|