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Meet the Authors

April 30, 2024
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Mary Christopher & Mike Rowley | Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines

@ Beaverdale Books

Join us for a fascinating evening with authors Mary Christopher and Mike Rowley.

Woodland Cemetery was founded in 1848, three years before Des Moines was incorporated as a city. One of the earliest Victorian “garden cemeteries,” its oak-tree covered hills served as the city’s first park. People could be buried at Woodland regardless of race, religion or income.

Meet early pioneers like the Younkers, Tones, and Neumanns who immigrated here and started early businesses that withstood the test of time. Veterans from the War of 1812 to the Vietnam War are buried here. Civil War brothers in arms, Black and white, Union and Confederate, lie side by side. Woodland Cemetery is also an official stop on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

In their new book, Mary Christopher and Mike Rowley, along with other Woodland volunteers, reveal fascinating stories of these departed residents.


Release Date: April 29 PREORDER NOW

Mary Christopher is a fifth-generation Iowan, a Drake University alumnus, a former Younkers buyer and the author of Our Friend Sitting Bull: The True Story of a Pioneer Couple’s Friendship with the Famous Lakota Chief. She is a lifelong taphophile (cemetery aficionado) who had the idea for a Woodland tour book during long dog walks at the cemetery during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Mike Rowley is a Des Moines native and cemetery historian, with six generations of his family buried at local cemeteries. Mike has spearheaded the installation of more than two hundred veteran stones at Woodland and belongs to more than thirty organizations relating to veteran’s causes. Every December, Mike is also involved with Wreaths Across America, coordinating the placement of wreaths on graves in military cemeteries.

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