Oak Park Cemetery
Error creating thumbnail: File missing
A view from the park to the downtown
|Established||October 18, 1930|
22 Quinto Ave|
New Prairie, WI
|Owned by||St. Murphy's Church|
|Number of graves||400|
|Number of cremations||15|
The second cemetery for New Prairie, which was founded in 1930.
Named for the Oak trees that lined the patch of land that was purchased. The cemetery was built on the western base of Cambiere Rock and stretches three blocks to the south and quite a distance back and up the slope of the mountain. The first ceremony for the new grounds was for Roberto and Rachel Martini. While neither of the two’s bodies were ever located, their disappearance from the town for so long had caused them to be declared legally dead. A grave stone marks their death at the entrance way into the grounds.
Most of New Prairie’s most notorious and infamous residents have been laid to rest within the park itself. In the main chapel just a short distance inside the entranceway to the park, there’s a map that will allow visitors a guide to the final resting place of such people. However, a few have been purposefully left off the map in fear of visitors with unruly thoughts causing havoc with the gravesites (Vinnie Sportien is one of them).
Catacombs and Gravestone
When the graveyard was originally constructed, catacombs were started beneath for those who wished not to be buried in the ground. Fairly popular with the more well to do citizens of New Prairie, many were buried in them until a cave-in in 1954 saw the shutting down of the catacombs. The normal entrance to them was destroyed. When Winston Cooke was hired as the caretaker to the cemetery in 1973, he stumbled across an opening to the catacombs while cleaning out a mausoleum. Breaking through he lowered himself down and into the vast catacombs which he found gave off an odd sense of comfort and rejuvenating appeal.
In 1986, Cooke brought the body of Nathan Myers into the catacombs where he magically awoken. Years later, the two turned the catacombs into their base of operation for when Myers became the crime fighter Gravestone. The mausoleum that Cooke made his way into was subtly rebuilt with an addition of a statue of Jesus, hands out on a pedestal. By touching his right hand, the statue slid aside and revealed a set of stone stairs that led down into the catacombs themselves.
The cemetery has exhibited strange events and happenings over the years, the result of which are still unknown. Ghosts, monsters and the unexplained are often drawn to the cemetery and in one instance some of it’s oldest occupants returned to life in the form of zombies and started terrorizing the city, only to be stopped by crime fighter Gravestone. The cemetery’s sprawling grounds flow with the natural formation of the land and many of the original trees still stand, spotting the land with patches of dense forest.