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Hillside Cemetery

Location:

Cedar Falls
North of East Lone Tree Road

 

Hillside Cemetery in the North Cedar area of Cedar Falls is significant for historical and literary reasons. It was originally the family plot of Solomon and Martha Knapp, who buried 24-year old Oscar Knapp here in 1855. The following year, the Knapps deeded a three-quarter acre area on the sloping hillside to Washington Township trustees for use as a public cemetery.

A number of early Cedar Falls pioneers are buried in Hillside Cemetery, which is now maintained by the city with the assistance of the Hillside Cemetery Association. Perhaps the best known are Zimri and Lucinda Streeter, grandparents of Cedar Falls novelist Bess Streeter Aldrich.

Near the Streeter graves are those of the Leepers, three of whose children died on the same day in 1880 during a diphtheria epidemic. Several veterans of the Civil War are also buried here.

Hillside Cemetery was immortalized in Bess Streeter Aldrich's 1939 novel, Song of Years. She described the cemetery this way:

"Here rest those first settlers. It is a place of utter peace. There are times when no sound penetrates but the rustling of the corn or the dropping of a pine cone. Sometimes, though, one will hear a combine at work near these sleeping men who cut their grain with a cradle, or, perchance, a plane zoom over the heads of these quiet ones who followed the grassy trail with oxen."

Because of its connection with Zimri Streeter (Jeremiah Martin in the novel), Hillside Cemetery is often spoken of as the "Song of Years Cemetery." A plaque designating the cemetery as "Song of Years" Cemetery was placed in 1996.

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Last updated Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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