By COREY SAATHOFF and ANDREA DEGENHART
For the Republic-Times
For the first time in 36 years, Eagle Cliff-Miles Cemetery west of Waterloo is open for new burials.
Last week, the state of Illinois issued a license for burials at the historic cemetery overlooking the American Bottoms.
This news caps a successful restoration plan at the cemetery since Monroe County took possession of the property in 2010.
Located at 7749 D Road, the cemetery consists of 4.5 acres that began as an Indian burial ground on the cliff below the mausoleum. It is the final resting place of Revolutionary War veteran Shadrach Bond Sr., as well as other local military veterans of the War of 1812, Civil War and Blackhawk War.
Bond lived on land immediately west of the cemetery along Bluff Road, just south of Fountain. Bond’s nephew, also named Shadrach, resided with him. His nephew became the first governor of Illinois in 1818.
Miles Cemetery fell victim to vandalism over the decades, but an effort to clean up the grounds started in the 1990s and intensified in recent years after ownership was transferred to the county.
Cemetery trustee Charlotte Hoock said a three-phase plan included the removal of graffiti from the mausoleum and installation of surveillance cameras, repairs to the mausoleum and its collapsing wing walls, and replacing a fence.
The community donated funds to this restoration effort, and supplies and equipment were also donated for the work.
In addition to finding and repairing tombstones, trustee Dylane Doerr had a major find during this restoration — a six- foot section of the original 1859 wrought-iron fence located near the top of the north side of the mausoleum.
“It is in almost perfect condition, with only a couple small broken oak leaf designs,” Hoock said earlier this year.
For additional information about the cemetery or burials, call Hoock at 281-3189, Doerr at 618-781-4764, or Harry Reichert at 281-5635.