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Welcome!

logofinalmixjpgIf this is your first visit:

Discover great facts and stories about 272 Chicago area cemeteries.   You will be surprised to find where the dead have been  in and around Chicago.

803 cemetery listings:

Thumbnail information of 272 cemeteries,  258 cross references all found in the “list of all cemeteries” pages as well as over 300 Jewish cemeteries  within other cemeteries, the majority in Jewish Waldheim

DSCN0090aThe blog posts

contain my best and most interesting feature stories. Most will be about the Chicago area, Chicago area cemeteries, people you should know, historical events or simply strange.

Read about Funeral trains serving the Cemeteries

Funeral Streetcars

Check out  The Architecture of Death

or ROLLER COASTERS BETWEEN TWO CEMETERIES!

Don’t miss this just updated story (july 2022)

 Liquor License in a Cemetery?

or some other popular ones An Elevator in a Cemetery! or  The Battered Helmet

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or even the very weird story   Burial Cards: John’s left foot

There are more than 100 stories in  the archives. Check back often as I have so many more stories to tell .

Don’t miss these most popular posts

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“Absolutely fireproof” –A human Tragedy  Iroquois Theatre Fire December 30 1903

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61 years ago -December 1, 1958      Our Lady of Angels school fire

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When Chicago Cried     The Eastland disaster

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Ghosts of Riverview Park 

Don’t miss these useful posts

Finding your Uncle Louie 

how to find one of your missing relatives

Why are Cemeteries where they are?

Cook County Cemetery at Dunning

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Diagram showing where bodies have been found. #1 is generally the “old grounds”. #14 is the “new grounds” opened 1890

Grave Mistake-the Story of Cook County Cemetery at Dunning   link to blog

the incredible story of how we lost and rediscovered

a cemetery containing 38,000 souls.

for the whole story, visit www.cookcountycemetery.com 

A GOOD READ about Cook County Cemetery (Dunning): Grave Mistake by Harold Henderson Sept 1989 https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/grave-mistake/Content?oid=874451grave mistake

If I can help you

with your question on a burial location of a  lost relative, understanding a death certificate, or any cemetery question in general, email me and I will be happy to help

More often than not, my fee is cookie

write me

Barry A Fleig  bartonius84@hotmail.com

About this website

This  is the modern version of a cemetery book research project began about 1988. After visiting hundreds of cemetery sites, libraries, and other resources, I had decided to document all burial places in Chicago and Cook County. So instead of  writing about the just most obvious and large cemeteries,

Why?

There is an urgency for us to know and appreciate all of these burial places and their stories. The landscape of Cook County, Illinois is constantly changing, often at the expense of our cemeteries.  Farmland has given way to shopping centers, expressways, toll roads, airports and subdivisions. Neighborhoods, and communities of yesterday have been replaced with new construction, altering our land and disguising our rich history.

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Saint Johannes Lutheran Cemetery within O’Hare International Airport, perceived by the City of Chicago to “be in the way”. The entire cemetery was disinterred and all graves were moved elsewhere.

Please come back to this website often and enjoy!

THIS WEBSITE IN THE NEWS: 

How do you lose a cemetery!

Barry Fleig was interviewed on Extreme Genes radio by Scott Fisher. paste into your address bar, Turn up your speakers and enjoy :

https://extremegenes.com/2018/05/13/episode-236-lose-a-cemetery-chicago-native-can-help-you-father-and-step-son-make-remarkable-dna-discovery/

Famicity, based in France,  posted November 24 2017 written by Erin Harris.  https://blog.famicity.com/2017/11/preserving-cemeteries-in-chicago-illinois/?lang=en

DNAinfo was a great print and electronic media in Chicago. Check out their Oct 29 2017 Article  https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20171030/west-ridge/barry-fleig-cemetery-blog-sheiners-picnic-grove

Sliding down the Pole

I was just a kid on Chicago’s north side when my grammar school class toured the Chicago fire Department Engine 71’s firehouse at 6239 N California. Watching the fireman slide down the fire pole, we learned  that the fire pole was actually invented in Chicago some 71 years earlier. A few other cities claim that they had a fire pole first, but I shall stubbornly stick to this Chicago story unless proved otherwise.

Flash back to 1878 and a three story wooden frame firehouse at 313 Third Avenue (later renamed and renumbered to 909 South Plymouth Court) in Chicago.  Although long gone, it was then the busy quarters of Engine Company 21 organized in 1872 as the first black fire company in the Chicago fire Department. The ground floor containing the firefighting equipment and the horses, the floor above was for sleeping, and the top floor the hayloft used to store the winter supply of hay to feed the horses.

Until 1878, firefighters would come down from their sleeping quarters to their fire apparatus  either by a spiral staircase or through a slide chute. A spiral staircase was better than a regular wide staircase because it took up less space in the firehouse. Worse yet, the fire horses could at times try to climb the regular stairs to visit the firemen or get a treat! Just picture a firemen who would awake to either a hungry or playful horse that missed their human companions. It really happened!

Continue reading “Sliding down the Pole”

Being a Kid on a Miniature Train

If you were a kid, you may well have enjoyed a miniature train ride somewhere in the Chicago area. They were in amusement parks, zoos, and kiddieland. You might have ridden the “Hiawatha” at Hollywood Kiddieland at Devon and McCormick in Chicago’s far north side,  or the Kiddieland in Melrose Park at North Avenue and River Road. There was a train at Brookfield zoo, one in Adventureland in Addison.

 If you are really old like me, you may remember the train in Lincoln Park zoo or the two really iconic trains, the Chief and the Scout at Riverview amusement park at Belmont and Western.

Continue reading “Being a Kid on a Miniature Train”

Dying in Style: Chicago’s Cadillac Fire Ambulances

Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Quinn was opposed to switching from Cadillac ambulances to the newer boxy, modular EMT design apparently on the theory that “a Chicagoan would rather die in style than be saved in the back of a panel truck.” He thought people wanted to go out in style! 

Actually, Cadillac never made an ambulance, but rather suppling three major coach builders S&S,  Miller Meteor and Superior . The first Cadillac purchased by the Chicago fire Department was a modified 1940 limousine model which went into the service on January 25, 1943, assigned as an upgrade to Ambulance 1. Then between 1953 and 1973 most Cadillac ambulances were conversions from Miller Meteor of Ohio on incomplete Cadillac chassis from 1961.

Since 1928 Chicago fire Department has purchased over 178 ambulance vehicles, some 70 of those were Cadillacs. There were also three 1942 Packard’s converted by Henney in Freeport Illinois, ten 1946 Mercury’s and nine Pontiacs purchased 1970. There was just one 1941 Dodge purchased for Civil Defense between 1943 in 1947.. In 1973 the EMS systems act was written establishing federal guidelines for the newer design modular ambulances,  the department purchased over 70 of these  on Ford and Chevrolet chassis still in use today.

But the story of Chicago ambulances begins in 1889 with its first city ambulance, a horse driven police ambulance #1 quartered at the Armory police station. In the basement station where stalls for nine horses two teams assigned to the ambulance and two teams for the “blue wagon” a ninth horse was called a fast trotter for the commanding officer of the precinct captain Koch.

One ambulance team was always kept constantly in harness ready for “instant service”. The crew two police officers and a driver would wait for the electric gong. One horse team worked the day shift 7 AM to 6 PM the other team worked the night shift 6 PM to 7 AM.

Continue reading “Dying in Style: Chicago’s Cadillac Fire Ambulances”

Hold a huge reunion for EVERYONE in your family tree

If somehow you could have every one of the relatives on your family tree come back to life for just one day, wouldn’t it be fun to  hold a huge family reunion for all of them?  

Here are some tips to plan your big event:

Because your tree has hundreds or even thousands of relatives, you are going to need a very large venue, be it a banquet hall or a large outdoor space. Check your ancestry or your familysearch tree and plan accordingly.

You will need to think about food, entertainment, table favors, photography, whether or not to have an open bar and more. Your oldest relatives probably were born in Europe or beyond so you might well have a language problem. Also be aware that everybody will be there including people you never liked. Who knows you may have a bank robber or a horse thief in your midst?

That brings up the seating arrangement:  you have many difficult choices here. Would you seat everybody by the year that were born?, or do you just mix it up and have Uncle Louie born in 1934 sit with your great great great aunt Tillie who was born in 1803? It certainly would make for interesting conversations. You might not want put the Germans and the Polish at the same table because they never got along back them.

Consider the wide variety of occupations of your relatives. How interesting would it be to see a politician next to a hairdresser next to a cabinetmaker next to a coal miner.. Picture Albert Johann the harness maker born in 1821 finding something to say to Uncle Bert born 1934 the car salesman still wearing his plaid suit.. Picture Emil the German barrel maker born in 1741 trying to make meaningful conversation with Molly born 1912  the exotic dancer who worked the 1933 worlds fair.

Continue reading “Hold a huge reunion for EVERYONE in your family tree”