Old Madison Cemetery (Defunct)

Madison, Lake County, South Dakota, USA
Memorials 10 added

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Old Madison Cemetery is in the northwest corner of Section 23 of Lakeview township. It is perhaps the oldest burial place in Lake County. It is located at the east end of the Chautauqua Grounds near the site of Baker's barn, a well-known landmark for early pioneers. Mr. William J. Baker, a progressive settler who came to Dakota Territory in 1873 and settled on the north shore of Lake Madison, gave the site for the cemetery where he himself is believed to be buried. Cedar trees were planted among the several headstones place there.

Since the cemetery was not used for burials after about 1890, the site fell to the ravages of time, weather, and no regular maintenance. Man, himself, finally desecrated the burial place. All remnants of markers have been removed and lake shore cottages have taken its place. One headstone was saved and placed in the Smith Zimmerman Museum on Dakota State College campus.

This burial site being a part of the Chautauqua Grounds merits a brief history of the Chautauqua itself. The Chautauqua Association bought 50 acres of land at Morena Bean, the entire lake front, including the renown Grand View Hotel, which later burned, for $6,000. A stock company was formed at $100 a share. The Chautauqua Assembly opened on July 15, 1891 and was a highly successful entertainment center. By 1925 its popularity began slipping and in 1935 the site was sold at a sheriff's auction because of failure to pay the mortgage and taxes. Madison Building and Loan bought the site for $22,721 and in 1945 deed the property to Lake Madison Resort for $13,000. Lake Madison Resort, Inc., sold lots 12, 13, and 14 in block 15 to Dr. P. M. Resnvold in 1945 for the sum of $1.00.

"Through research a list has been prepared of those believed to have been buried in this cemetery."


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GPS Coordinates: 43.9786600, -97.0492800

  • Added: 1 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2463890