Oakland Cemetery was deeded to "the people of Iowa City" by the Iowa territorial legislature on Feb. 13, 1843. The original plot was one block square, with the southwest corner at Governor and Church. Over the years the cemetery has been expanded and now encompasses 40 acres. Oakland Cemetery is a non-perpetual care City cemetery. This cemetery is supported by city taxes. The staff is strongly committed to the maintenance and preservation of privately owned lots and accessories.
Since its establishment, the cemetery has become the final resting place of many men and women important in the history of Iowa, of Iowa City, and the University of Iowa. These include Robert E. Lucas, first governor of the territory (1838-41); Samuel J. Kirkwood, governor during the Civil War (1860-64), again in 1876, a U.S. senator in 1877, and subsequently, secretary of the interior and U.S. minister to Spain; well-known presidents of the university, Walter A. Jessup (1915-33) and Virgil M. Hancher (1940-64); Cordelia Swan, daughter of one of the three commissioners who selected the site for Iowa City and the new territorial capitol; and Irving B. Weber (1900-1997), noted Iowa City historian.
It is also home to the legendary monument called the Black Angel, which is an 8.5-foot tall monument for the Feldevert family erected in 1912. The facts behind the Black Angel long ago gave way to myths, superstitions, and legends surrounding its mysterious change in color from a golden bronze cast to an eerie black. View additional Black Angel history here.
How do I find a grave? - Cemetery Map and Database
The City of Iowa City has an online system that allows the public to view gravesite information. While great care was taken in preparing and loading the information, the City assumes no responsibility for any errors in this presentation as it continues to be a work in progress. When accessing the database, we recommend using Google Chrome as your web browser.
- This link may take several minutes to open, depending upon your connection speed.
- Click on the binoculars to enter a name to search for a specific person.
- The scroll wheel on your mouse allows you to zoom in and out.
- Click on the gravesite to get owner/burial information.
- The following areas in the cemetery are not for sale at this time:
- Outlots 1, 2, 3 & 4
- Welfare/Block 1
You can also search the Oakland Cemetery database from your phone. Simply scan the QR code to get started.
Found an error or need a correction? Please email, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Forestview Columbarium is a gleaming black granite wall located in the east end of Oakland Cemetery. It is lined with 352 niches for the interment of cremains, and the maximum size of a cinerary urn maybe is 9 inches high by 9 inches wide by 9.5 inches deep.
The Cherish Columbarium is the second columbarium at Oakland Cemetery, located on the far East side of the cemetery. This black granite structure has 64 niches - 32 (12"x12"x12") and 32 (12"x12"x16") for interment of cremains. The pricing will vary depending on size, height on the wall, and the side the niche is facing. Single niches are located on the North and south ends of the structure and accommodate a slightly larger cinerary urn than the Forestview Columbarium. The double or dual niches can accommodate 2 cinerary urns and are located on the West and East sides of the structure.
Lot Sales & Deed Transactions
Please contact the Oakland Cemetery office at 319-356-5105 to schedule an appointment to discuss the purchase of a lot. Staff will have available suitable plats showing size, price, and location of lots. After a lot is purchased, a deed will be mailed to the lot owner by the City Clerk's office.
A deed transaction form should be filled out to request any of the following transactions:
- Request for duplicate deed copies
- Transfers of ownership
- Re-issuance of revised deeds
Follow the instructions on each form for completion and mailing.
Rules & Regulations
It is the desire of the City of Iowa City to make Oakland Cemetery a quiet, beautiful place for the deceased and visitors. Peace and good order must prevail for the sacredness of the place to be maintained at all times. It is to this end that the following rules and regulations have been established. Contact the cemetery office at 319-356-5105 to obtain information on the regulations regarding monuments, interests, and individual lot restrictions.
- Look and enjoy, but please don't touch the monuments.
- Rubbings or tracings of stones are not allowed due to the fragile nature of many of the stones.
- All dogs must be confined inside a vehicle (except for service animals).
Artificial wreaths, artificial flowers, and holiday decorations are welcome any time between November 15 to the end of February and for four days before and five days following Memorial Day. After that period, if not claimed, they will be removed from the site. Flags and emblems will be removed and stored, without responsibility for preservation, if still in place on the sixth day following Memorial Day.
Live flowers in plastic or paper mâché containers are welcome and may be used at all times. All wired flowers, glass jars and bottles, toys, metal containers, and other objects that might create a mowing hazard will not be permitted during the mowing season and will be removed and discarded.
Annuals or perennials may be planted adjacent to the stone if tended by the lot owner. Permission for permanent plantings, such as evergreen or shrub plantings, must be obtained from the Cemetery staff.
Application for Oakland Cemetery Controlled Uses
Are you interested in hosting an event other than a funeral service at Oakland Cemetery? Fill out a controlled use application and submit it at least two weeks before the date of the proposed event.
Questions? Please contact Cemetery Supervisor, Russ Buffington or 319-356-5105.
Office hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday