New Babyland Sign Highlights Renovations At Noblesville’s Riverside Cemetery



In the past year, several Noblesville departments have worked together to renovate Riverside Cemetery. Located in Downtown Noblesville along the banks of the White River, the earliest known burial marker at Riverside Cemetery is dated 1824. The cemetery, which is available to all regardless of race, creed or ethnic heritage, is maintained by the Noblesville Street Department and overseen by the City Clerk and Board of Works.

Historical Sign“An important function of the city is the preservation of Noblesville’s history, and with the help of many people, we are making good progress at Riverside Cemetery,” Noblesville Clerk Evelyn Lees said.

In the fall, work was done to distinguish Babyland’s portion of the cemetery. Babyland was established and used in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. Nineteen infants are buried there; however, only six graves are marked. A new metal sign was designed and created by Rick Heflin of RC Metalworks in Downtown Noblesville to incorporate the names and years of those burials located in Babyland.

“Fewer and fewer people knew the boundaries, so we felt it was important to mark off the area,” Lees said.

At the same time as work on Babyland took place, the chain link fence on a portion of the cemetery’s southern boundary was replaced with the same black metal fencing used at the east and north sides. As funding becomes available, the long-term goal is to replace the remaining chain link fence so the entire border has the same fencing.

Two State Heritage Cemetery signs have been installed, one at each entrance to the cemetery. The third sign will be installed just outside the north side of the cemetery at the Riverwalk trailhead.

For the past two years, GIS undertook the daunting project of mapping the entire cemetery, which included probing the graves to check accuracy. As work moved into the older parts of the cemetery, it was discovered that several headstones had fallen down and over time become covered with sod.

“More than 50 headstones were uncovered, which the street department will reset,” said Lees. “GIS entry of most of the cemetery is completed, with only the oldest part remaining. When the project is finished, anyone will be able to go to our website, click on a grave, and see information about the deceased and a picture of the headstone.”

Lees said the next project will be preservation and restoration of the markers, which the city is researching.