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Union Cemetery Gardener's Cottage
Coutesy of the Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission

Constructed in 1918, the Union Cemetery Gardener's Cottage is a well-preserved example of a small Craftsman building, a very popular style during the first quarter of the 20th century. The caretakers cottage is a typical example of these small Craftsman houses that were found in abundance in the pattern-books and mail-order catalogs of the period. The Gordon Van-Tine catalog of 1917 offered a "Substantial Hip-roof Cottage with Convenient Porch" that is much like the gardener's cottage in size and shape as well as design. Topped by a clay-tile hipped roof this building illustrates an interest in texture that was an important element of the style, with the combination of cobblestone, brick, pebbledash stucco and wood trim. The brick and hollow tile construction method was common to both the style and period, making a building virtually fire-proof.

View of the cottage within the cemetery
Coutesy of the Iowa Falls Historic Preservation Commission

This cottage was designed by architect W. L. Peddicord through a contract issued by the Ladies Social Gathering, who have owned and operated Union Cemetery since it was established in 1859. When Iowa Falls was originally laid out in 1855, no provisions were made for a burying ground, or cemetery. The women of the community took it upon themselves to remedy this problem and formed an organization originally called the Social Gathering of Iowa Falls with the objective "to aid in purchasing grounds for the cemetery or fencing or adorning the same; shall obtain admission fees, buy and sell various articles and receive donations to accomplish said object." Still active today, the Ladies Social Gathering is a a tribute to the pioneer women of the West. To raise money to purchase land for a cemetery, the Ladies immediately began making shirts, overalls and stockings, in addition to piecing quilts. In August 1860 they purchased four and one-half acres at $40 per acre from the three men who had laid out the town. The terms of sale required the Ladies to make full payment for the land within 12 months, which they did by the summer of 1861. The original portion of the cemetery was heavily covered with trees, shrubs and bushes. With assistance from male residents, the Ladies quickly had the trees cut and sold for wood, and cleared the shrubs and bushes. According to the organizations records the Ladies planted 60 hard maples, 200 soft maples and 200 evergreens in 1868. Some of the evergreens remain standing today. The first addition to the cemetery was made in the 1870s when they purchased the land immediately east of the four acres. As a result a stone wall and iron fence were built at the main entrance. Around 1885 a large fountain was installed near the center of the cemetery. Many of the current members of the Ladies Social Gathering are descendents of the founders of this cemetery organization--the oldest west of the Mississippi in continuous operation.

Union Cemetery Gardener's Cottage is located near the center of the cemetery, which is bounded by Siloam Ave., Cedar St., Pine St. and Ira Nichols Bird Refuge.

[graphic] Collage of different scenes from Hardin County
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