The Black Angel of Oakland Cemetery – Iowa City, Iowa - Atlas Obscura

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The Black Angel of Oakland Cemetery

A mysteriously dark cemetery monument fuels stories and legends galore. 


The golden towering figure was built as a beautiful yet mournful burial monument for the resting place of the Feldevert family, and erected in a quiet Iowa City cemetery in 1912.

At 8 1/2 ft. tall, the broad-winged angelic statue stands out amongst rows of simple gravestones, and enjoys very large recognition in the area—not for its finely-crafted sorrowful visage, but for its insistence on appearing eerily black. Regardless of being a simple case of bronze oxidizing, the effect is pretty creepy, and one can’t be blamed for letting their imagination off the leash a little. The angel was designed by artist Mario Korbel, and stands watch over Theresa and Nicholas Feldevert, as well as Theresa’s son from her first marriage, Edward Dolezal. Over the years, the angel turned darker and darker, a greenish-black patina effect that made the statue creepier and creepier.

Soon, the angel attracted the attention of ghost seekers and kids looking for a cheap thrill. Legends and lore started popping up everywhere—touch or kiss the statue and you’ll be struck dead.

Due to the amount of shenanigans the statue attracts, the cemetery security keeps a pretty close eye on it.

Know Before You Go

Head north on Governor Street in Iowa City. Turn right at Brown Street and proceed east into the Oakland Cemetery. Follow the road, sticking mostly to the right, as she will appear about halfway back in the cemetery under a street lamp.

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