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 legend surrounding its mysterious change in color from a golden bronze cast to an eerie black.