McLarens Resthaven Chapel and Mortuary and Resthaven Cemetery

801 19th Street, West Des Moines, IA 50265 | 515-225-7225 | MAP


History of McLarens Resthaven Chapel & Mortuary

When Earl D. McLaren opened his first funeral parlor in 1921, West Des Moines was known as Valley Junction. Our first location was at 409 Maple and it operated there from 1921 to 1927. The second location was the McLaren family home at 300 Sixth St., just west of the city hall, where it operated from 1927 to 1935. McLaren's moved into its familiar Fifth Street location in 1935 and watched the town of Valley Junction grow into the modern, suburban city that continued moving west as the population grew.

Resthaven Cemetery was established in 1931 by W.H. Colvin on the site of the former Mountain Dairy Farm and was “out in the country.” Resthaven was one of the first memorial parks in the United States to have all of its markers set at ground level in a park-like atmosphere. The 40-acre cemetery was purchased from the Colvin estate in 1953 by R. Harley Riggs and Carl Ripper. The centerpiece of the cemetery at that time was the lake located between two rolling hills.The first pair of swans to live on the lake, Jack and Jill, were purchased in 1955 by Mrs. Fred Chander in memory of her husband. Jack and Jill continued to grace the lake and raised a family there.

The Garden Mausoleum was built in 1975 and overlooks the lake. Resthaven Chapel Mausoleum, which features casket crypts and cremation niches, was built in 1968. The mausoleum was expanded in the mid-1980s with an additional wing that added casket crypts. Glass-front cremation niches were added later.

McLaren's Funeral Chapel moved from Valley Junction to the grounds of Resthaven Cemetery in 1978. Each year until 1998 the Resthaven Cemetery tree farm provided many of the West Des Moines residents with Christmas trees. Other additions to Resthaven include private estates with a two-crypt private mausoleum, added in 2005, and the fountain estates, added in 2006. The Veterans Memorial Wall was constructed in 2006 and honors both living and deceased veterans. Each Memorial Day, the avenue of flags honors those who have given their lives defending our country.

In 1978, McLaren’s moved west to Resthaven Cemetery at 19th Street and Ashworth Road. McLaren's Resthaven Chapel enabled us to provide the community with the finest facility in the area. Designed to offer privacy to the individual family while meeting the continually growing needs of the community, McLaren's Resthaven Chapel enabled us to live up to our promise to “serve as we would be served.” Due to the growth of metropolitan Des Moines and the western suburban area, Resthaven Cemetery and McLaren's Chapel are now centrally located and no longer “out in the country.” We're conveniently located near the I-235 freeway and only minutes from interstates 35 and 80.

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