The 1/2 acre Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve has never been plowed or grazed. It appears to be perched above the surrounding farm fields, a reflection of how much of the original prairie soil from these fields has been lost to wind and water erosion over the decades. The cemetery still contains healthy colonies of prairie grasses and beautiful prairie wildflowers which once carpeted the historical Darby Plains. Bigelow Cemetery has the largest population in the state for the state threatened royal catchfly (Silene regia).
The beautiful prairie wildflower is a favorite of ruby throated hummingbirds which you can often see visiting the flowers. Because Bigelow was a pioneer cemetery many of the tombstones are in need of repair. As time and funds are available the division is repairing them. These tombstones often impart tragic stories: many children did not survive infancy; wives died young, often during childbirth; and epidemics sometimes claimed entire families. But there are also gravestones of hardy individuals in their 60s, 70s and 80s, a remarkable testimonial to human survival at a time when adult life expectancy rarely exceeded 45-50 years. Summer-blooming prairie wildflowers are at their peak from late July through August.
- Open from 1/2 before sunrise to 1/2 after sunset
- Stay on designated trails
- Pets are not permitted
0.1 miles of trail