Before visiting historic Belle Plaine for the annual afternoon tea fundraiser in support of the renovation and preservation of the historic Herring Hotel, I had never even heard of Ladimir Klácel. However, a local community leader in town suggested I head out the beautiful Oak Hill cemetery on the east side of town to check out his grave.
Who was Ladimir Klácel? Well, he was many things. In fact, he became very notable in his time and while he is buried in Belle Plaine, there is a statue of him in Chicago at the National Bohemian Cemetery. There are a number of different sources of information on his life and work online if you would wish to do a little bit more reading, but he was a prominent Czech academic, philosopher, writer, and a teacher of Gregor Mendel, the man who is long considered the father of genetics.
His gravestone is a relatively easy to find. In fact, this photo shows where it is relative to the road and the entrance to the cemetery.
But, quite honestly, it might be easier just to look for the marker that might be the only one in the entire cemetery that bears a bust of the person.
The rest of the cemetery is quite peaceful if you are looking for somewhere to explore.
After my visit, I went back into town as there is a home, known as the Zalesky House, that is on the National Registry of Historic Places. This particular home is quite beautiful and it was also where Klácel lived at the end of his life. I hope they are able to get it sufficiently preserved as it is clearly a remarkable structure.
Klácel might not have been one of the most famous of Iowans, but he is still an important part of our state's history. Not to mention, he clearly made an impact through his teachings and other academic work. I am grateful to have gotten the "tip" to check out these sights and look forward to uncovering more of these unique stories as I adventure around Iowa. There is also much more to see and do in Benton County and Belle Plaine and I look forward to my return trips.