Lakeside Cemetery to celebrate 150 years with community event
A group of Hastings women organized Lakeside Cemetery more than a century ago as a nonprofit organization that would benefit the community. May 6 will mark the 150th anniversary of the organization.
"(Lakeside Cemetery) was organized to honor the dead and be a credit to the living," said Rich Manke, administrator at Lakeside.
Lakeside Cemetery will hold an anniversary celebration at its grounds from 1-3:30 p.m. All activities and events will be free and open to the public.
At 1:15 p.m., there will be a service at the plaza near the flagpole at the main entrance. There will be music, a proclamation made by Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks, reflection and prayer by Gordon Gathright, raising of the American flag by the Veterans Honor Guard, and bagpipes by Andrew Fox.
Other activities will include horse-drawn carriage rides through the cemetery grounds and narrated walking tours of Hastings founders' grave sites by Friends of LeDuc and Historic Hastings. The walking tours will include narrations from costumed characters of Lakeside Cemetery Association founders such as Samantha Sprague Lewis, Emma LeDuc, Maria VanHoesen and Martha Van Slyck. Other characters will include famous Hastings settlers such as Gen. William Gates LeDuc, Brig. Gen. Charles P. Adams, Augustine W. Gardner and Alvara Jerome W. Thompson.
Historic cemetery records and maps dating back to 1867 will be located in the cemetery office for viewing where refreshments will also be available.
"The history of this place itself is something to celebrate," said Pete Mollick, the secretary treasurer at Lakeside Cemetery.
The first board of Lakeside Cemetery Association was established May 6, 1867. Samantha Lewis was elected to serve as the first president, Maria A. Van Hoesen as secretary, Julia M. Allen as treasurer and Emma R. LeDuc as the actuary. Other founders included Mary D. Wright, Isolene Heath, Martha Van Slyck, Alvin Stanley and Keziah Webster.
In November 1866, a group of women met in the Presbyterian Church to improve the condition of Oakwood Cemetery, which despite its relatively young age, had fallen into disrepair. The women organized a fundraiser and raised several hundred dollars. Unfortunately, Oakwood was private property and the title contained defects so efforts to improve it were abandoned.
The woman organized a cemetery under Minnesota statute May 4, 1867, and they purchased property May 6, 1867. Lakeside Cemetery has grown from 13 to 34 acres and serves as a final resting place for 5,500 people, including more than 500 veterans.
In 1875, Lakeside purchased a number of lots for the purpose of making a direct road through Second Street to the cemetery. In 1916, automobiles were permitted to enter the cemetery grounds. At one point, the speed limit in the cemetery was limited to a "fast trot."
The trustees considered building a chapel in 1929, but no action was taken. The discussion had occurred two months before the start of the Great Depression.
Purchases were made throughout the history of Lakeside Cemetery to manage the property. Just a few of the items included a lawn mower that was purchased in 1939, an ornamental gate was purchased in 1969 and a computer was purchased in 1991.
In 2016, Lakeside Cemetery began the process to convert 149 years of paper records into a database. The project is expected to be completed in 2017. When it is complete, the records will be as accurate and complete as the cemetery records and the passage of time permit.