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More Hidden Northeast Iowa Magic: The Pioneer Cemeteries of Winneshiek County
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More Hidden Northeast Iowa Magic: The Pioneer Cemeteries of Winneshiek County

When you stop and think about it, cemeteries really are sacred, historic outdoor museums.

And Winneshiek county has a wealth of incredible hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. In fact, did you know that Winneshiek is one of just a few counties in Iowa to have an actual Pioneer Cemetery Commision, tasked with preserving the history of these significant spaces?

It's mission? To identify, protect, preserve and maintain these cemeteries and the monuments within them.

What is a Pioneer Cemetery, anyway?

A "pioneer cemetery" is defined as a cemetery where there have been twelve or fewer burials in the preceding fifty years. The county is responsible for the maintenance and repair of these locations. The maintenance and improvement program for a pioneer cemetery may also include restoration and interestingly, the careful management of native prairie grasses and wildflowers.

In the news

May was actually declared "Cemetery Appreciation Month" in Winneshiek County! 

Along with the attention, the  Pioneer Cemetery Commission continues to have high hopes for more community involvement, and is always on the lookout for volunteers. Their meetings occur on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the old Winneshiek County Jail building, next to the Courthouse. And talk about interesting-- summer meetings are sometimes held at a cemetery.

The group has been renovating a number of the 42 pioneer cemeteries throughout the county, and are proud of that they've accomplished, but are always looking to do more.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, you can e-mail:




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