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


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


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


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


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


When Chicago Cried     The Eastland disaster

studio 6 nice 1910

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

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,


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!


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 :


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

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”

The ONLY Fumbling Waitress at Chicago’s Ivanhoe

The Ivanhoe restaurant at 3000 N. Clark St. in Chicago was a favorite place of fine dining where all meals were served by waiters, only waiters.

Mary Brant

But there was one waitress you need to know. Mary was the most outrageous (and only) waitress at the Ivanhoe who fools her guests with her clever and unique act as a deadpan fumbling waitress.. She would wander from table to table and “annoy” unsuspecting guests with her unconventional waitress skills (or lack thereof). Her primary asset was a poker face and a top-notch knack for fumbling. Mary was an act, a wonderful entertainer, who worked for tips and made the Ivanhoe so much more special.

Continue reading “The ONLY Fumbling Waitress at Chicago’s Ivanhoe”

Roadhouse Terror

They were up to 500 Roadhouses in the Chicago area, nine in Morton Grove alone, places of gangsters and jazzy women, gamblers and drinkers, partygoers and criminals. They were often speakeasies sometimes disguised as summer gardens, clubs or even “soft drink parlors”, Many were gangland haunts, with a side dish of violence, murder or kidnapping. Many roadhouses burned, some of arson. Most all were the epicenter of prohibition between January 1920 and December 5, 1933.

The Chicago area had names like like The Dells, Ferris Inn, The Studio, Club Del Rio, Murphy’s, The Bungalow, Villa Venice, The Purple Crackle, The Garden of Allah, The Triangle Café, The Lincoln Tavern, Niles Tavern and dance hall on Milwaukee Avenue, Casino Gardens in Robbins, Cyprus Inn in  Northbrook, McCormick’s in Lake Bluff and hundreds more.

Most were located on main roads on the outskirts of Chicago from Chicago Heights to Blue Island to Robbins, Winfield, Evergreen Park, several in Glenview, Rondout,  and beyond. Evanston being dry was spared the roadhouse scene.

They took on many styles, like an old roadside tavern once a stagecoach stop, some raunchy, shady and dimly lit, with all the charm of an odorous beer hall. At the other end was a 2500 seat two-story palace with a breezy terrace, orchestra, stage shows, a dance floor for 300 couples,  beautiful girls and gorgeous costumes and an eight course dinner for $1.50. Many were run or control by gangsters, cronies or henchmen. And even legitimate roadhouses were forced to buy their liquor from the boys.

Morton Grove , just north of Chicago and about  5 miles west of Lake Michigan was way more than just bedroom community. was the centerof what came to be called “Rural Bohemia,” an area of that large roadhouse district north and northwest of Chicago frpm the Chicago city limits up into Lake County.  

Arlene Harvey

Late in the day on March 24, 1935, Arlene Harvey left her parents’ house at 8023 Kilpatrick in Niles Center (now Skokie). Although she went by the name of Arlene Harvey, her real name is Ruth Arline Pearsall, age 22, born October 8, 1910, to Charles and Leand Pearsall. She was an only child, engaged to be married in June 1935 to Clifford Peterson. Sadly on the last day of her life she arrived at her job as a checkroom girl at the Club Rendezvous at 5931 W. Dempster one of nine busy roadhouses in Morton Grove.

Continue reading “Roadhouse Terror”