Near here is the grave of Edward Israel , who went on the nation's first polar expedition, led by Lt. Adolphus W. Greeley. The team set out in 1881 for Ellesmere Island in the Arctic Ocean. Expedition scientist was Israel of Kalamazoo, age 22, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan
. He collected valuable astronomical information and assisted Greeley in many administrative chores. Disaster struck in 1883 when the relief ship was sunk en route. After a severe winter, 18 of the 25 expedition members died. Israel died on May 27, 1884. The entire city of Kalamazoo, with mixed sorrow and pride, honored Israel when the body was returned in August of that year.