The Legend Behind Quincy’s City Vault Will Surprise You
Did you know Quincy have a city vault in Woodland Cemetery?
Woodland Cemetery History
Located on South Fifth Street in Quincy, Woodland Cemetery is the oldest in Quincy. Opened in 1846 by John Wood (who is buried there) the cemetery features grave markers both small and large in nature, celebrating Victorian and Gothic Revival structures. Some of the cemetery had already existed prior to John Wood purchasing the large plot of land to expand it. Originally opening in 1825, and with the Civil War, room started running out to bury people and so John Wood purchased to large plot of land overlooking the Mississippi River. After Wood's death, he passed on the cemetery to the City of Quincy and in March of 2002 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The City Vault
One of my weirdest things I do is walk through cemeteries. I just find it extremely peaceful. While walking in Woodland Cemetery (which I highly recommend) I found a City Vault and curiosity soon set in. What was this for? Did they use it to store bodies in the winter? What's inside? Is it empty? A hundred questions ran through my head all at once, so I did what any person would do with these questions, I headed to the Quincy Public Library and found some very interesting information. There was so much, but I also found that there are many legends about what the City Vault was actually used for?
There really is a little known about the City Vault and what it was used for just several stories throughout the years. Legend has it that they City Vault was used to store bodies i of those who have dies on the riverboats on the river and if the ground was too hard to dig in the winter months. According to the book I was looking at, the most common story told about why the vault was built was to store ammunition of the local military; but it was found to be too damp for that purpose and was abandoned.
In doing even more research, an ordinance published in the Quincy Daily Herald in 1869 goes into more detail as what the vault will be used for. It states:
Sec. 2 No body of a deceased person shall be deposited in said vault unless properly encased in a strong and secure coffin, nor shall and such body be recovered where the condition of the remain, or the cause of the death, are of such a character as to render the deposit of the body dangerous or injurious to the health of person who may approach the vicinity of said vault...
So, here's my take after doing all of this research. There could have been a possibility that a person was placed in the vault in a secured coffin until they were able to be buried. Now, there is NO PROOF of this, it's just me thinking that way. Whether you believe this is true or not, there is something very mysterious about the City Vault and to this day remains' a mystery.