Kalamazoo’s Riverside Cemetery Suffers Vandalism

Approximately 80 stones were tipped, cracked, chipped or broken in a vandalism spree discovered Monday, Aug. 22. The city is offering a $500 reward for information about the vandalism; some of the toppled stones weighing as much as 1,000 pounds.

The city does not yet have a list of surnames on all of the tombstones damaged in Riverside Cemetery on Gull Road recently, the trail of toppled stones goes from about the south edge of Section Q up through Section J, L and into K.

“At this point, we have not been able to identify and list all the individual stones that have been toppled by name,” said Suzanne Rowland of the city’s cemetery office. “Unfortunately many stones are face down and will require more than a ‘walk by’ to find the name.”

You can read more and view pictures of the damage in an article by Rosemary Parker in the Mlive web site at http://goo.gl/UGbDn8.

My thanks to newsletter reader Patricia Combs for telling me the sad news.


For a public cemetery that was opened in 1862, there is no acceptable reason why every headstone was not accounted for before this event.


    Some of the old record books are not very easy to read, thus there are spelling errors in lots of names. There are also lots of headstones they cannot be read to verify who they really belong to. Vandals over the years have destroyed headstones & even moved them of removed them. Riverside has hundreds of unmarked graves. The city has a good online record of the graves but how accurate it is is unknown. They have done as good a job as they could with the information they have. There are thousands of headstone photo’s online at Find-A-Grave http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gs& & the MiGenWeb’s Tombstone Project, http://usgwtombstones.org/michigan/mitstable.htm hopefully these projects keep going until all of the headstones have been photographed. I won’t live long enough to see it completed but I have put a dent in it. Thanks to the city for keeping Riverside one of the best looking cemetery in the area.


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