Riverside Cemetery crypt

The decaying door that once could be seen on the north side of this crypt at lower Riverside Cemetery in Moline was sealed to keep out trespassers. The whole thing likely will have to be buried, because the roof is failing, too.

Some strange sights become so routine, we stop noticing them.

So I haven't minded being dogged by a friend who was nearly overcome with curiosity about the crypt along the 4th Avenue one-way in Moline.

The brick structure just east of the Riverside Lagoon has probably occupied the same little plot for 150 years.

"It just was a really crude crypt made for, from my understanding, two people — a husband and wife," said Moline Cemetery Manager Todd Slater.

At one time, the crypt contained a door, which faced north, or toward the one-way. And the entire structure sat up a little higher on the cemetery lawn. When the door failed, and the city covered it over with mortar to keep trespassers out, the area around the tomb also was partially filled, Slater said.

Now that the roof also is failing, it is likely the city will have to bury the whole thing.

Time is cruel that way.

The lower part of the sprawling Riverside Cemetery is the original, and it opened in 1851. Riverside expanded up hill in 1873, so the crypt must have been built between that period. Even if it was the last burial site added before the uphill migration, it would be 144 years old.

At one time, an elderly man who worked at a salvage business across the street supplied Slater with historical facts about the cemetery, including some of what he knows about the brick crypt.

"There's no name on it," Slater said. "I believe the name has the word 'Love' in it — Lovejoy or Loveless, maybe," he said.

And he has an idea of who built it.

"I think the man (inside) probably built it himself," Slater said. "I don't think the cemetery would have built it for them. They weren't that organized then.

"Maybe he was a brick mason."

At the time the pair passed, their resting place would have looked much different from the way it looks today.

"It would have been such a quiet, serene place," Slater said. "The road wouldn't have been there, just a dirt carriage road."

Maybe they'll appreciate being buried.

Contact Barb Ickes at 563-383-2316 or bickes@qctimes.com

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