It is a cold but sunny January day in 1885.
I take you to Wells and Kinzie streets on the north side of the Chicago River, We are at the massive Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad depot, later known as the Chicago and Northwestern depot. (It was since replaced by the Merchandise Mart and a new station built at Madison and Clinton). We board train Number Thirty-One, just one of fifty-five daily Northwestern trains. What makes this train very different and special is that it is the daily Northwestern funeral train leaving Chicago every day at 12:30 PM sharp including Sundays bound for two cemeteries. This route dates back to 1857.
Continue reading “New Years 1885 at 12:30 PM”
Chicago area cemeteries are a bit more quiet during the special Christmas season. This is in part because the holidays are centered on activities for the living. Families gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus, shop for gifts and a tree, attend church services and family gatherings. Hanukkah too is also a special family time although under Jewish custom it is not appropriate to mourn on days of celebration and happiness. The holidays are traditionally when all the family gets together, so when we are sitting down for Christmas dinner, we understandably feel the empty space left by the missing person. The cemetery and that departed family member buried there are less visited than other times of the year.
Continue reading “Christmas in the Cemetery”