Iowa Trip
Including Oakland Cemetery and The Villisca Axe
Murder House
Around 1974, Irving Weber, in the volume 1 of his Iowa City series gives some insights about the “Pest
house”.

It was an isolation ward for victims of smallpox and other highly contagious diseases, who had no one
to care for them. “Hospitals in the city had no isolation wards and the pest House was the only place
smallpox victims could be isolated, in a remote area behind Oakland Cemetery to remove them from all
contact with the city.”

Three consecutive buildings have been used from around 1881 for almost half a century. This building
is the third one and there are no information as to when the building discontinued handling smallpox
and other contagious deceases or when it was torn down.

Not much is left of the building, just a significant depression. Watch your step.
In 2011 an excavation field season by The University of Iowa took place to train students in
archaeological field methods and to get a better map of the house foundations
.
THE BLACK ANGEL
Teresa Dolezal Feldevert was born in 1836 in Strmilov, Bohemia where she became a practicing
physician. Teresa and her son, Eddie Dolezal, moved to Iowa City where she worked as a midwife. Their
stay in Iowa City lasted until 1891 when Eddie died of meningitis at age 18. He was then buried in
the east half of Lot #4 in Block #9 of the Oakland Cemetery, and Teresa had a tree stump monument
erected on his grave.

Teresa then moved to Eugene, Oregon where she married Nicholas Feldevert, who died in 1911.
Following her husband’s death she returned to Iowa City and hired Mario Korbel, a Bohemian artist in
Chicago, to design the $5,000 monument to tower over the remains of her son and the ashes of her
husband. The Angel arrived on a flatcar in Iowa City on November 21, 1912.

Some time following the installation of the Angel, her son Eddie’s monument was moved from its original
location to its present site alongside the Angel, and his remains, along with the ashes of her late
husband, Nicholas Feldevert, were buried in repositories under the Black Angel. Teresa died of cancer
on November 18, 1924, and her ashes were also buried under the magnificent Black Angel Monument.

So why is the black angel black? Why is there no date of death for Teresa on the stone? There are many
rumors and legends out there but who knows the real truth?

Some of the photos below are of other random interesting graves in the cemetery.
A quick stop by the field of dreams and a visit
by the children of the corn. Oh, it's just Joe,
Chris, and Travis. Equally as scary!
Long before serial killers and mass murders had become a way of life, two adults and 6 children were
found brutally murdered in their beds in the small mid-western town of Villisca, Iowa.

We had our own experiences during our visit that prove, at least to us, that energy definitely lingers.
The children are definitely still here. When they look at you with pleading eyes and tousled hair
wearing their night clothes that you know they died in, you feel so helpless. The deed is done and
there is no way to change it or make it better.