National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Oak Hill Cemetery Historic District
Reference Number 13000243
State Iowa
County Linn
Town Cedar Rapids
Street Address Roughly bounded by Mt. Vernon Rd. SE. 15st St SE. and south and east lot lines, Cedar Rapids, IA
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 05/08/2013
Link to full file
The Oak Hill Cemetery Historic District is locally significant under Criterion A for the historical significance of the cemetery and its representation of the settlement and development of the City of Cedar Rapids. It is further significant under Criterion A for its association with families and individuals who played an important role in the settlement and development of the city, including a number of the city's pioneer businessmen and industrialists. Additional significance under Criterion A is achieved through the representation of the social history of the city including race relations, the role of women, and the role of immigrant groups in Cedar Rapids history. The cemetery is also significant under Criterion C for its association with the Rural Cemetery Movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The cemetery is further significant under Criterion C for its representation of the work of two important landscape architects, Horace W.S. Cleveland and Ossian C. Simonds, whose work shaped the picturesque landscape of this historic rural cemetery. The work of the Cedar Rapids' architectural firm of Josselyn and Taylor also added substantially to the architectural significance of the cemetery by the addition of the monumental stone gateway and shelter house. Oak Hill Cemetery qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion Consideration D, as a cemetery that derives its primary significance from distinctive design features and the graves of persons of transcendent importance in Cedar Rapids and Linn County, Iowa. Significant buildings include the caretaker's house and garage, the barn, the gateway shelter house, and the nine mausoleums. Significant structures include the two stone walls with stone gateposts that form the memorial entrance at the northwest comer of the cemetery. Significant objects include the numerous gravestones and monuments in the cemetery collectively counted a single contributing object. The significant site is the cemetery's designed landscape, the curving driveways with curbing, the driveways without pavement and curbing, and the grass-covered pathways that are part of the designed landscape. The period of significance for the district is from 1853 to 1962, with 1853 being the date of the cemetery's establishment, The end date of 1962 represents the fifty year mark for consideration of National Register eligibility because the cemetery is still evolving and is still a site where important persons in Cedar Rapids are being buried. Significant years include: 1853, when the cemetery was established; 1869 and 1880 when landscape architect, Horace W.S. Cleveland was hired to design the landscape for the cemetery expansion area; 1908-10 when the memorial gateway designed by Josselyn and Taylor was added to the northwest entrance of the cemetery; and 1911 when landscape architect, Ossian C. Simonds was hired to redesign a portion of the historic landscape of the cemetery.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria