Riverside Cemetery is an historic non- profit perpetual care cemetery in Marshalltown, Iowa that opened in 1863. The derecho storm with 106+ mph winds that swept through Iowa on August 10, 2020 caused devastating damage from one end to the other on the cemetery’s 100 acres of burial grounds with nearly 23,500 graves.
Hundreds of beautiful, stately old trees were completely snapped off and/or uprooted, leaving gaping holes and even exposing some burial vaults. Top Notch Tree Service of Marshalltown has been working 13 hour days, 7 days per week, ever since the afternoon of the storm. They have managed to clear a massive amount of debris in an amazingly short time.
The financial cost for tree removal is estimated at nearly $1 million, almost none of which will be covered by insurance. In addition, hundreds of new and old monuments were toppled and broken. Insurance will not cover monument repair because they are not cemetery property.
The office building and chapel were also damaged and will require a new roof, and much of the fencing on the grounds will need to be replaced. The good news is the insurance should cover those expenses.
Riverside is owned by the lot owners, is governed by an unpaid volunteer Board of Trustees and receives no city, county, state or federal funding whatsoever. The cemetery must survive on revenue for burial plot, monument, and floral sales, and on occasional donations and bequests. This is why aid from caring citizens is so crucial.
Over 60,000 people have viewed the cemetery’s initial Facebook post with photos of the damage. (https://www.facebook.com/ Riverside-Cemetery-139989352840067/)
If each and every one of them were to donate even $10, Riverside Cemetery would have over $600,000, to help pay for the tree removal and restoration of the grounds. No donation is too small. Please give whatever is in your heart and what you can afford. Please help spread the word by sharing this GoFundMe link. Thank you so much for helping restore a much treasured, beautiful old landmark in our city of Marshalltown, Iowa.