History of the City Cemetery & Veterans Memorial Park
In 1860 the Methodists were already worshipping in a small building that once stood in the southeast corner of today’s Lanark cemetery. Here the tiny congregation also had their burial ground. From this location the church was moved as stated earlier in 1861, closer to the center of the growing town. It was in this location were the Lanark cemetery got its start. The Methodists had already been using part of the site for the burial of their loved ones. So when the church moved, it became Lanark’s burial place. The first known burial in the Lanark cemetery was that of little Willis York, the 2 month old son of early Lanark settlers. He was the first child born in town; his father was an attorney who soon after Willie died, moved to Kansas where he became a senator. The cemetery remained in the Methodists care till 1880, when they asked the city to take it over. The city added another tract of land, and in 1881 Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Kingery deeded additional land, and the Methodists deeded their land and plots to the city as well. It has remained in the utmost care and has been the pride of Lanark for over 150 years now.
The flagpole in the center knoll of the Lanark Cemetery was donated in memory of Jack and Mary Lou Eckburg on Memorial Day 2005. The American flag has since been joined by (two) other flags, benches, sculpted walkways, memorial walls containing commemorative personalized bricks, each naming a local U.S. Military veteran. With the additions of the Armed Services monument, this serene and hallowed site has since become the Veterans Memorial Monument/Park.
The first additions to the memorial grounds were three marble slabs dedicated to the branches of the military. These were placed in the center of a circular walkway. The second major additions were the three slanted concrete slabs donated by Burkholder and Sons Concrete. These slabs were designed to accommodate 82 marble bricks each. Each brick contains the name, rank, service branch, unit, and dates of service of a military service person from the Lanark area. Black bricks were chosen for those who had lost their lives while on active duty. Families and friends purchased the bricks and provided the information along with information obtained from the military records.
These are excerpts from the book “Sesquicentennial Lanark IL 1861-2011”