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.

What you can find

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

The blog posts are my best and most interesting feature stories and topics. Check out “The Architecture of Death”.  Don’t miss some of the earliest blogs like a liquor license in a cemetery or an elevator. They can be found in the archives. Check back often as I have so many more stories to tell .

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 :


Don’t miss this popular post: Why are Cemeteries where they are?

Cook County Cemetery at Dunning,  the incredible story of how we lost and rediscovered  a cemetery containing 38,000 souls. Click on the link at the top of the page for part of the story, but 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=874451

If I can help 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 : Barry A Fleig  bartonius84@hotmail.com

This website 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,

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.


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!


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




Phillip Maxwell, Someone for you to Meet

phillip maxwell portraitHis name was Phillip Maxwell,  born April 3 1799 in Guilford Vermont. He became a physician for the United States Army and was assigned to Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Illinois as an Assistant Surgeon.   From 1844 to 1847, he ran a doctor’s office at the corner of Lake and Clark Streets. But more  about him later.  The famous Chicago Maxwell Street, was named after him.
Continue reading “Phillip Maxwell, Someone for you to Meet”

Celebrating the Corner Drug Store

Seems like there was a drugstore in every neighborhood and one or two within easy walking distance of home.

Let me introduce you to Edwin John Sanders,  one of those kindly people that everyone should have had the privilege to know. Edwin was born  March 14, 1882 in Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska, USA,  the son of Adeline Tessier and Herman Sanders. In 1901 he graduated from the Iowa Pharmacy School, Highland Park College inDes Moines, then the Chicago College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1904. Continue reading “Celebrating the Corner Drug Store”

Fond Memories-Walter’s Waterfall

s-l1600 Walter Eugene Olson was born February 18 1884. If you are a real Chicagoan, and a bit old, you might well remember the gift he gave to all of us. It was the  22 acre Olson Park and Waterfall which opened September 27, 1935 on the northwest corner of Diversey and Pulaski (back then Crawford Avenue). in Chicago. factoryHe wanted to “transplant some of the Wisconsin out of doors spirit to the then somewhat drab factory grounds.”


ghjhgNext to his massive carpet factory there was this landmark park made of 800 tons of stone,  800 yards of soil, 3,500 perennials,  junipers, spruces, and pines. There were paths with birch railings and foot bridges that allowed visitors to walk across the waterfall, a birch bark canoe, a teepee, a statue of a Native American, and more. There was a rock garden, picnic area, bird sanctuary, a duck pond, ravines and caves. In 1942 there were peacocks, golden pheasants, and even Corriedale sheep! Continue reading “Fond Memories-Walter’s Waterfall”

Rosehill Cemetery Railroad Station

Thank you all for so much interest and response to my earlier post “New Years 1885 at 12:30PM”,  the story about the daily funeral  trains to Rosehill and Calvary Cemeteries on the Northside of Chicago.

If you did not see it, you can hop back to that January 1, 2019 post with this link:




But wait!! There’s more! There is more to share about Rosehill Station

grade level

In this very early image before 1897 or so, the original Northwestern tracks can be seen at ground level. You  are looking north. The cemetery is off left. The large train station is on the east side of the tracks, opposite the cemetery and where passengers would board trains back to Chicago.

  So here is a bit more of the story and images of Rosehill Station where the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad brought visitors to Rosehill Cemetery. More important,  the dedicated funeral trains brought both mourners and the deceased.

Obtrain2ituaries would state when the funeral train was to leave downtown.

(The railroad later became the Milwaukee Division of the Chicago and North western Railroad,  then since 1994, was owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, and simply referred  today as Metra North.)

cnwstation1910In the early years, as many as 55 daily trains  left Chicago’s Wells Street Depot at Kinzie travelling northbound stopping at  Rosehill Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery, a trip of about a half hour.. The tracks were at ground level back then and the station was Chittenden Station “the first station out on the Milwaukee Railroad “ and named for the subdivision  of Chittenden.

In 1897,  as a result of concerns over the safety of residents who had to cross the tracks at Rosehill, Chicago enacted ordinances requiring the elevation of the railroad tracks.In a track elevation report for 1897, it was reported that “on March 30, 1896, an ordinance was passed elevation of the roadbed and tracks the Milwaukee and Wisconsin divisions of Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company, from Wrightwood Avenue on the Milwaukee division to Rose Hill Cemetery, a distance of about 4.5 miles, eliminating 20 grade crossings, and an estimated cost of $900,000; this work has been done.”

On March 23, 1903 Chicago city Council passed a lengthy ordinance in which the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company was hereby ordered and required to elevate the plane of its roadbed and tracks beginning at about our Balmoral Avenue and continuing north. The embankment was specified to be composed of cinders, gravel, sand, clay and any other materials. A subway was to be built at Cemetery driveway, At the entrance of Rose Hill Cemetery “as well as 14 other locations northward to Rogers Avenue.” under the Chicago and Northwestern railway and the subway at Rose Hill shall be constructed “of such dimensions and according to such plans as may be agreed upon between the officers of Rose Hill Cemetery and the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company”.

According to the annual report of the Chicago Department of Public Works released in 1908, they state that the Chicago and Northwestern railway company completed its track elevation on the Milwaukee division (known as the Rose Hill track elevation), from Bryn Mawr to Howard Avenues, which is the northern limits of Chicago, to the satisfaction of the city, and in accordance with the provisions of the ordinance of March 23, 1903. It was at this time that a new station was built at Rose Hill to match the stone of the cemetery entrance.

In this picture below, you are still looking north. The cemetery would be off left. But now in this picture the tracks are now elevated and a new station is on  shown on the elevated level.  43275641_10103045971001608_7935422855020281856_n

 In the following picture below we are now  looking south with the main entrance gate  to the cemetery on the west side of the tracks.  after the grade elevation 

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Here are stairs that brought many thousands down to the cemetery205a 

One of the most unusual buildings in a Chicago area cemetery is simply an elevator. 43498486_10213235194661626_115308825241714688_n205benh

It is a beautiful structure with stained glass windows and could easily be mistaken for a small chapel.. It was built just north of the main gate to lower the heavy caskets down to ground level and then to a waiting horse and wagon for the final procession to the grave.

 Funeral trains and the elevator building are no longer in use, but the “elevator in a cemetery” has survived .   

Lauren’s Gimmicks

3dYou might not recall his first few gadgets, the spring driven clock that kept better time, three-dimensional glasses,  or an automatic bridge table card shuffler.  During the World War II, he helped develop a remote control of missiles, infrared sensors to guide bombs and a new type of gyroscope.

His story gets way better so please read on! Continue reading “Lauren’s Gimmicks”

New Years 1885 at 12:30PM

wells_street_station_ca_1910On a cold but sunny day in January 1885,  I take you to Wells and Kinzie streets in Chicago, the then Wells Street depot of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. The station was sometime referred to as the Kinzie Depot. It was bounded by the Chicago River to the south and west, Kinzie Street to the north and Wells Street to the east.  The station is long gone, replaced by the Chicago and Northwestern Station (Ogilvie Transportation Center)   The Wells Street Station site is now the massive Merchandise Mart built in 1930.

stean Train number 31  was just one of fifty-five daily Northwestern trains.  What made this train different is that it is the daily Northwestern funeral train taking mourners and the deceased to Rosehill or Calvary Cemetery. The train leaves Chicago every day at 12:30 PM sharp, including Sunday north bound for the two cemeteries. Continue reading “New Years 1885 at 12:30PM”

Christmas in the Cemetery – Sleep in Heavenly Peace

gateeIt is late on Christmas Eve and the cemetery gate is locked. The rest of Chicago is a mix of holiday activities and wintry winds.

Families are busy with the things of the living, shopping for last minute gifts, Christmas recipes, and attending church services to celebrate His birth.  Hanukkah too is also so special for our Jewish friends. But as we celebrate  we feel the empty space left by the people missing in our lives. Christmas can be  a difficult time for people who have lost a loved one,

bbbuuyyttAlthough going to a graveyard might seem an unlikely activity for the festive season, There are exceptions worth noting. In Finland, hundreds of graveside candles glowing in the snow make a wonderful holiday statement. Placing candles on the graves of deceased relatives at Christmastime is a wonderful tradition.  As many as three-quarters of Finnish families visit a cemetery at Christmas, mostly on Christmas Eve.

grave blanket For many years,  florists and cemeteries themselves offer “grave blankets” or a wreath for the mausoleum door. They are commonly made of a variety of evergreen boughs. Most also have colorful, seasonal decorations such as ribbons, ornaments or pine cones. They seem to have been most popular in the upper Midwest where early settlers went out into the woods gathering pine branches to cover an ancestor’s grave. They seem to be less popular these days, but still create a graveside focal point and a way to reminisce and remember. The grave blanket covers the ground at the base of the grave and symbolizes the caring and warmth that friends and family feel toward the deceased person and gives some level of comfort during the holidays . njhgff

You may find other holiday  decorations on graves ranging from small Christmas trees, or even toys. Cemeteries often has rules on how long they can remain or may prohibit them entirely.treee

sleighBack about 1900, Rosehill Cemetery on Chicago’s north side actually had a horse drawn sleigh to transport family to and from the gravesite. An outdoor fireplace offered warmth on cold winter day and offered an afternoon of Christmas music, refreshments and  “holiday cheer“. In a cemetery out east people gather around a 15-foot Fir tree  A children’s choir sing hymns and Christmas carols; a tent holds hot drinks and pastries. The Archbishop blesses the tree, and visitors are invited to hang spherical glass ornaments on the tree in memory of loved ones.

The carol says, “Sleep in heavenly peace”. The Latin, coemeterium or from the Greek κοιμητήριον (koimētḗrion), from κοιμάω (koimáō, translate to  “I put to sleep”) The beloved Christmas carol is well applicable to our cemeteries.  We also seek peace, peace between God and man, peace on earth.

I take this moment to wish you and your family a very blessed Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah, May you find  abundant peace as you remember the family members who have gone before us.  As the words in Silent Night so aptly proclaim, may they “sleep in heavenly peace.”