Kalamazoo city officials have called it an 'unprecedented' level of damage at any cemetery in the City of Kalamazoo. 80 headstones have been defiled at Riverside Cemetery on the city's northeast side.

While some toppling of headstones is expected, this level of vandalism is unprecedented in either of Kalamazoo’s city cemeteries.

City staff will be seeking quotes to have the headstones that were not broken moved back into place. Headstones that have been chipped, scratched, broken, or otherwise damaged will have to remain “as is” unless the decision is made by the family to file an insurance claim or pursue legal action.

City staff and Kalamazoo Public Safety are asking our community for help in identifying the perpetrator(s) of this crime. Staff believe the vandalism would have taken place sometime between Saturday, August 20 and Monday, August 22. With each square foot of granite weighing up to 250 pounds, the perpetrator(s) were likely experiencing physical exhaustion in the days following this vandalism as some of the monuments toppled weigh over 1,000 pounds.

Silent Observer is looking for tips and a $500 reward has been offered.

History of Kalamazoo's Riverside Cemetery

Riverside Cemetery, located along Gull Road and Riverside Drive is the oldest of Kalamazoo's two cemeteries and the first interments date to 1862.

Riverside Cemetery is considered the cemetery for the 'common man,' as opposed to Mountain Home Cemetery on the city's northwest side that contain many of the city's historically prominent citizen also includes the city's Civil War monument, an obelisk with an unnamed Union solider atop it. Customarily, these monuments are generally faced south.

The cemetery is the final resting place of a Spanish-American War Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Alfred Polond, who according to his citation, "gallantly assisted in the rescue of the wounded from in front of the lines and under heavy fire from the enemy."

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