The Lady of Oak Lawn is gone
Wed, 05/23/2018 - 1:07pm admin
CRESCO - The statue, which has graced the entrance to Oak Lawn Cemetery for decades, was vandalized and stolen a few weeks ago. The association that oversees the cemetery operations has been hoping that whoever stole the statue would return it, but with no results.
In 1974, on the occasion of the cemetery’s centennial, the Times-Plain Dealer wrote:
“A Landmark at Oak Lawn — While its history is not known, a statue of a woman is located at the Oak Lawn cemetery. The statue, believed to be of Italian marble, was found discarded by the fence. The women of the association who found it decided to fix it up and erect it where it could add to the beauty of the grounds. It has no other special significance and the women do not know for sure from where the statue came.”
(Interestingly, the picture above this caption is not the Lady, but rather a statue on the Meverden family plot. All of the Meverden graves date from the early 20th century.)
Nowadays, it is not even known for sure when the Lady statue first came to Oak Lawn. The first mention of it in the minutes of the Women’s Oak Lawn Cemetery Association (WOLCIA) was on May 2, 1966, when it was noted that “Mrs. [Amy] Sobolik was elected to see about putting a new nose on statue at the east end of Cemetery. Elva [Luehr] said Dr. Luehr would help with the work.” From this, it appears that the statue had already been at the cemetery for some time.
The minutes indicate that it was damaged again in 1970 and repaired in 1973 by Bud Weatherford. At the meeting on May 6, 1974, the minutes say that “The lady statue to be put in the tool house for the present because of vandalism.” At some point after that, the statue was returned to public view near the current Directory building alongside a small granite “Oak Lawn Cemetery” sign.
In late April of this year, vandals knocked the nearly five-foot statue over and broke it in half. While arrangements were being made to repair it, they (or some other thieves) came and took the two major pieces. Although a report of the damage and theft was made to the police, there is little hope of recovering it, unless someone comes forward to say where it is.
The statue is pure white marble (other than the nose). The top half is of a woman in an old-fashioned draped dress. She is holding a book and a cross in her left hand, while her right hand is held up to her waist. The bottom half shows the draped bottom of her dress on a square of marble.
The Oak Lawn Cemetery Association is appealing for the return of the two pieces of the statue. If you know where one or both are, please call the Cresco Police Department at 563-547-2424. Please help bring the Lady of Oak Lawn home.
Additional Note: The Oak Lawn Cemetery Association will be collecting donations for the maintenance of the cemetery over the Memorial Day weekend (Friday – Monday, 9am – 6pm). Please honor your loved ones by making a donation. Because of the low interest rates, this is a difficult time for all cemeteries, and donations are very important to all of them. Thank you.