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  or Funeral Streetcars

Check out  The Architecture of Death


Don’t miss some of the earliest blogs like a A Liquor License in a Cemetery?

or An Elevator in a Cemetery! or  The Battered Helmet


or even Burial Cards: John’s left foot

There are almost 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




A treasure on the sixth floor

Meet Kenneth F. Little who had an awesome knowledge of Chicago streets way before computers and GPS. He was the retired senior fire-alarm operator with the Chicago Fire Department.  I was honored to know Ken Little and have him as a good friend   He had hundreds of friends and touched and influenced many more.  Who knows how many people he helped, mentored, inspired and even saved.. Ken Little was a invaluable one-of-a-kind resource for the Chicago Fire Department.  He co-authored six books literally writing the book on the History of the Chicago Fire Department including the incredible four volume History of Chicago Fire Houses.

Continue reading “A treasure on the sixth floor”

Fire at 1200 feet over Chicago


It was a warm 83 degrees in Chicago on Monday, July 21, 1919.  The movie “Daddy Long Legs” starring Mary Pickford was playing at the biograph theater. Vaudeville was alive and well at the State-Lake theater. All seats $.25. Ten thousand were cheering the end of the stockyards workers strike. A brick bungalow could be had for $4000. A loaf of bread seven cents. A quart of milk was nine cents.

On that day,  Evelyn L Meyer, 28 years old,  made her daily weekday trip downtown from her home at 5135 Blackstone Avenue on Chicago’s far south side. Evelyn was a teller at the llinois Trust and Savings Bank at 231 S. LaSalle, corner of Jackson Blvd. in downtown Chicago. She earned about $15 a week.

Evelyn and 150 bookkeepers and clerks were closing up  the bank at about 4:55 PM in and around the main banking hall. Built in 1897, the bank featured a beautiful open lobby, topped by an enormous skylight over a marble columned rotunda.  

Continue reading “Fire at 1200 feet over Chicago”


Not all people can afford a nice casket. For those without funds or family, the county would bury a body in a simple pine box.18850831_morgue_expenses_2222 cropped The costs were well documented back in the day. In 1885 the Cook County undertaker stated that his largest annual budget item was $404.03 for the lumber to build simple pine coffins. He spent an additional $19.50 on “nails, tacks, screws etc.” as well as $4.45 on muslin trimmings “at 10 cents per yard”. For the year ending in August of 1885, the County undertaker buried 990 souls in Cook County Cemetery at a cost calculated at only 43 cents per casket. In addition, he had a salaried coffinmaker at $360 per year ($30 per month) which resulted in a total cost to Cook County of only 79 cents per casket for materials and labor .

Read on for more about the pine casket, but also Chicago’s huge Lumber District that provided the wood, and their immense fire of 1894, second only in size to the Great Chicago Fire. Continue reading “BURIED IN A SOUTHERN PINE BOX”

Bring out your dead! – Chicago’s 1918 flu epidemic


8,510 Chicagoans died in a matter of months despite signs placed in theatres, streetcars and elevated trains to warn against the danger of spitting, coughing, and sneezing . Undertakers and cemeteries were overwhelmed. There were orders that wake attendance be limited to 10 people at a time. Public funerals were totally prohibited for a time.

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John Robertson, the Chicago Comissioner of Health warned theater managers to ensure that patrons used handkerchiefs or that he would shut down their establishments. Churches, schools, theaters, restaurants, streetcars, and other places where people congregated were ordered to maintain proper ventilation . The Illinois Influenza Advisory Commission ordered the hard closing of all nonessential places including theaters, cabarets, dance halls, skating rinks and other venues.oct 6 1918 trib These establishments were not re-opened until they supposedly passed an inspection by the health department. Large gatherings were banned including conventions, lectures and debates, club and society meetings, union gatherings, athletic contests, lodge meetings, Billiard and bowling matches and political meetings. Banquets and weddings were postponed. Children playing in the parks were told to go home. Church services were instructed to be brief . Hotels were ordered to keep their lobbies clear of loiterers. Oddly, saloons could remain open, as could poolrooms and bowling alleys, so long as they were properly ventilated however bars were raided for disobeying the crowd-size violations set by the city. Smoking on all streetcars, elevated trains, and suburban rail lines. Businesses were asked to stagger working hours in an attempt to minimize crowds on public transportation

Despite all of these restrictions , the human toll in Chicago in 1918 was staggering. Former mayor John Hopkins and pioneer educator Ella Flagg Young were the most prominent victims. And there were the thousands of others, known only to their family and friends.

So what happened?

The Spanish Influenza was one of the deadliest epidemics in history, lasting from 1918 to 1919 and during another time of crisis – World War I. . An estimated 50 million people, 3% of the world’s population died. 675,000 in the United States alone. Of those, 8,500 lived in Chicago. One-fifth of the world’s population suffered from the disease.

There are three theories as to where it began. One was China, another a British Army base in France, and the third Haskell County Kansas. 99% of the fatalities were under 65 and 50% were healthy young adults between 21 and 40.

On March 11, 1918, Army Pvt. Albert Gitchell at Fort Riley, Kansas reports to the camp hospital complaining of fever, sore throat, and headache. Before the day is over, over 100 soldiers fall sick. A week later, 522, cases had been reported at Fort Riley in what would be the mildest of the flu’s three waves. Forty-six died at Fort Riley that Spring .

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Camp Funston, Kansas 1918

The epidemic began locally on September 8, 1918 when several sailors reported sick at the Great Lakes training station just 32 miles north of Chicago. It became evident that the Influenza would soon spread and it certainly did. Officers instituted isolation and quarantine controls, ordered all 50,000 sailors to be given daily nose and throat, placed 1,000 men in isolation and ordered an additional 4,000 sailors under quarantine for suspect contact with the ill, and cancelled all liberty leave for enlisted sailors. And in weeks, the Flu hit Chicago hard. The most visible lasting effect are the thousands of gravestones in Chicago cemeteries.Q6ZTCYH3YJDKVNJIZWU367KFEM

Continue reading “Bring out your dead! – Chicago’s 1918 flu epidemic”