IMG_0075We stumbled across a unique cemetery and learned about Arbor Day because we failed to follow one of our golden rules. You might be wondering what was the golden rule we broke. It is “never go to a walk-in campground (one where you expect to find first come first serve camping spots) on a Friday or Saturday”. We arrived at Waubonsie State Park on a Friday after leaving a deserted Pine Lake State Park only to find the whole campground taken over by a renaissance reenactment group. So we drove over the flooded Missouri River into Nebraska to find a very clean, modern, and reasonably priced Victorian Acres RV Park which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If we hadn’t been there, we wouldn’t have taken the time to go to the cemetery.

What is Arbor Day? It’s a day set aside to plant trees and it was officially started in Nebraska City, Nebraska in 1872.  If your interested, you can read about J. Morgan Sterling, the man who is known as the founder of Arbor Day here.

So, now for the segue between Arbor Day and Wyuka Cemetery. After the declaration of Arbor Day, it became popular to have a headstone with an arbor motif. They must have been pretty scandalous at the time.  I think you’ll agree they are unique!


Those logs and stumps are made from stone!

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IMG_0061There were other headstone that were not a part of the Arbor Day theme but were poignant none the less. It’s always sobering to see the number of children and young people who died.

IMG_0072Larry found this cemetery thanks to a free app and computer program called Roadside America. Here is a link to the program


  1. So interesting about the “tree” tombstones. I think that I shall never see, a poem beautiful as a tree…or something like that. Coincidentally to your love of mounds, I am reading a book The Princes of Ireland, in which there is a beautiful description of the mounds in Ireland. I’ll share it with you at some point.

    1. Great comments. I just looked up the poem and found that it was written by Joyce Kilmer. I believe that I had to memorize that poem in fourth or fifth grade. I’d love to read that book. It sounds right up my alley.

  2. I knew about arbor day. My dad celebrated it his whole life! He must have beem part native american with his connection to the earth. Love the cemetery pics. Can learn so much history! Thanks for sharing!

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