A Liquor License in a Cemetery?

5213-15 North 40th Street, (renamed to Crawford and now Pulaski.


Jefferson Township records show a yearly saloon license issued to Bohemian Cemetery and Wenzel Scheiner.

After burying the dearly departed,  family and friends often gathered for the day at Scheiner’s Beer Hall and Road House next to cemetery greenhouses.post card They crossed the footbridge over the river to  Scheiner’s Picnic grove adjacent to the Bohemian National Cemetery. The large facility was described at variously times to include a horse stable,  bar or saloon, inn, restaurant, picnic grounds small pond, and a dance pavilion. Census records refer to Scheiner’s as an inn and road house with lodgers.

 In the early days, a funeral by horse and carriage was an all day affair from the Bohemian neighborhoods,  mostly on the near south side of Chicago. The picnic grove and other amenities provided a place for the horses to rest, but more important, the mourners could spend the day with one another, and celebrate family before the long trip home, often at dark. Scheiner’s not only hosted funerals but many other events for the Czech community.

There was complimentary buggy parking in the Scheiner buggy shed. A cemetery hay field was used to supply feed for the horses. Drinking was often an important part of the day after the funeral, but we do not know what might have been during prohibition.  It has been written that there were two outdoor dancing pavilions (later moved to Algonquin in 1935), and even a bowling alley, game booths and amusements for more spirited events. There were actually three picnic groves (Scheiners, Atlas Grove and Nagl’s Grove) along North 40th Avenue also serving families visiting the nearby Montrose, and Saint Lucas cemeteries.

In 1878 Matej Karasek sold 40 acres of land which would become Bohemian National Cemetery.  In 1885 he bought back 10 acres which included the southwest corner of what is now Pulaski and Foster. He then sold that portion to Vaclav Scheiner who began the saloon, Inn, road house and the picnic grove adjacent to the cemetery. The name of his son, Otto, can be seen on the side of the building.  In 1917, after the death of his wife, Vaclav sold the land to the cemetery  for $50,000 and sold the business to Rudolph Bezvoda (1875-1954) who leased the building from the cemetery.

In 1945, the business was sold to Marie and Victor Filip, son-in-law of the cemetery association’s secretary. The Filip family changed the name to the National Restaurant and Tap. matchbookWith the advent of paved roads and automobiles, the need for an all day facility far from the neighborhood became less important. Victor hosted his daughter’s wedding in September 1962 and three months later the buildings were demolished. And so ended an important place enjoyed by the Bohemian community.

















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