Moline Memorial Park
Moline Memorial Park Cemetery, formerly Valhalla Burial Park, began as a park cemetery in 1928. An early promotional advertisement identified Valhalla Park as “The Most Beautiful Burial Park in Illinois”.
Due to Deere & Company expanding along the Mississippi River, The East Moline City Council approved an ordinance to close Watertown Cemetery on July 16, 1928. During the months of September and October 1928, 139 bodies were moved from Watertown Cemetery to Moline Memorial Park.
Shortly after the cemetery began operations the devastating international depression followed. Moline Memorial Park was plagued with financial difficulties from this point on. During the 1950’s Moline Memorial Park was receiving a lot of negative media attention due to lack of maintenance. The grounds were often not mowed or trimmed, resulting in lot owners doing the work themselves. The Moline Memorial Park Board made several efforts to sell to the Riverside Cemetery Board. The two Boards had several discussions over the years and the Riverside Cemetery Board continued to deny their request.
Lot owners and citizens formed a group called, “Citizen’s Cemetery Group”. In August 1958 the Citizen’s Cemetery Group urged the City of Moline to assume operation of Moline Memorial Park. They scheduled a meeting with Illinois Representative Ralph Stephenson in mid-September 1958. Mr. Stephenson had sponsored a legislative act in 1955 that enabled municipalities to assume operation of privately-owned cemeteries. In November 1959 the Citizen’s Cemetery Group met with the Moline Mayor, Moline City Attorney, and the State Representative of Financial Institutions. Finally, the Riverside Cemetery Board met with the Citizen’s Cemetery Group on July 28, 1960. During this meeting they discussed how the money from the Citizen’s group would be transferred to the City to complete the purchase of Moline Memorial Park. On November 23, 1960, responsibility for management and operation of Moline Memorial Park passed to the Riverside Cemetery Board. The purchase price was $48,000.00.
In 1978, the Moline City Council dissolved the Cemetery Board and moved Riverside Cemetery and Moline Memorial Park under the Park and Recreation Board, also appointed by the Mayor and City Council. Today, Moline Memorial Park consists of 42 acres, and is the final resting place of 7,600 people.