Cemetery History - Glendale

Glendale Cemetery

  • In 1896, the City purchased 190 acres of farmland from Ebenezer J. Ingersoll for $200 an acre.
  • In 1896 the purchased land was considered too remote for use as a cemetery.
  • It was first known as “Woodlawn,” the area had a few trees and boulders so large that blasting was necessary to remove them.
  • After the City made two payments for the land, there was talk of using what would become Waveland Golf Course as the cemetery instead and terminating the contract.
  • The first burial, that of Mrs. T.D. Cubitts, occurred on September 22, 1904 on Lot 1 of what is now identified as Block 14, Section 56. 
  • About the time of the first burial, the City Council changed the name of the cemetery to “Glenndale” at the request of then-Mayor James M. Brenton who wanted it named after his deceased mother, whose maiden name was “Glenn”. 
  • The renamed Glendale Cemetery now covers 176 acres including over 100,000 burials and enough space remaining to serve the City for another century.

 Glendale Abbey

  • In July 1909, the Iowa Mausoleum Company purchased three-quarters of an acre of land close to University Avenue and announced the construction of the mausoleum, now known as “The Abbey.” 
  • The mausoleum was completed 1912. 
  • It was designed for 600 full crypts and 110 cremation urn niches and was considered large for a city the size of Des Moines. 
  • Iowa Governor and U.S. Senator Clyde L. Herring and Des Moines Mayor Charles F. Iles are interred in the Abbey. 
  • The City purchased the property after the mausoleum company dissolved in 1932.  

 Additional History

  • In 1938 and 1939 the Work Progress Administration built the two-acre lake located near University Avenue and improved the roadways throughout the cemetery. 
  • In the 1940s, the Catholic Church deeded their adjoining cemetery area to the City to become part of Glendale. 
  • The adjoining 29-acre Masonic and six-acre Jewish Cemeteries are privately owned. 
  • Four sections of the cemetery contain graves of military veterans who served in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II. 
  • Several sections of the cemetery are dedicated specifically to infants as well as the Tai Dam and Islamic faith communities.

 Notable Burials

  • Vice President Henry A. Wallace
  • Congressional Medal of Honor recipients William Campbell, who served in the Civil War, and Joseph Fitz, who served in the Philippine Insurrection. 
  • Iowa Governor Warrant Garst
  • U.S. Congressmen Eddard H. Gillette, Solomon F. Prouty and Hubert Utterbeck
  • U.S. Federal Agent and FBI Hall of Fame member Herman Edward “Ed” Hollis,  who pursued gangsters John Dillinger and “Pretty Boy” Floyd and killed gangsters “Baby Face” Nelson in the 1934 shootout which took his own life
  • Major League Baseball player Arthur L. Ewoldt
  • Seven Des Moines’ mayors