Celebrate Lutheran Cemeteries

I have again turned to my good friend, the somewhat elderly, long retired, but wise priest,  Father Barton. He and  Minnesota’s Father Wilmer  guide me on all things of spirit and goodness. Father Barton tells me that an abiding faith is the foundation of church cemeteries. Although we commit the body to the earth, death is not the final word,  believing the soul is in the immediate presence of God. Today we look at the more than 40 cemeteries in the Chicago area where just the physical bodies of generations of Lutherans rest.st john rodenburg

It is surprising that there are over 90 Catholic and Lutheran cemeteries in the Chicago area, more than any other type or group of cemeteries. Again surprisingly,  the number of those cemeteries are split somewhat evenly between Catholic and Lutheran.

In this blog we will concentrate on just the Lutheran cemeteries, but a future blog will also celebrate the Catholic cemeteries as well.

Where we bury or families are most influenced by the immediate areas and neighborhoods where they lived, or the church they attended. In the mid-1840s German Lutherans came to Chicago and became tradesmen and merchants. Many, if not most others began farming the land in outlying areas.  Both groups would soon find the need for cemeteries.


German LutherZionLutheranChurch-Churchville-compressedDSC_3413an family farms,  located south, west and north of the city, were usually small, from 10 to 40 acres, a few farms went beyond 100 acres.  These farms became well-known for its produce of tomatoes, pickles, beans, onions and carrots.  Much of the produce ended up at the Randolph Street or South Water Street markets in Chicago.   One area in particular,  a German, rural setting called Dunklee’s Grove is where Zion church began. Now known as Bensenville and Wood Dale. the German United Reformed Lutheran Church of Addison, DuPage County, Illinois was formed, later renamed Zion Lutheran Church in 1895. 313377-R2-78-78_080.jpgThe area was long known as Churchville. Here also, is the oldest Lutheran church cemetery in the Chicago area.


Shortly after Zion, many other Lutheran churches and cemeteries were started from Lemont to Palatine by hard working farmers. Many, but not all were “daughter” congregations of the “mother church”.  Zion was also where the idea for a Lutheran teachers college began. They were instrumental in forming Concordia Teachers College, now Concordia University in River Forest.

313377-R2-68-68_070Zion Cemetery is the final resting place of those forward thinking families.   Immanual Church and cemetery, just down the road (shown on left)  from Zion were the result of a split from Zion over doctrine.zion right



When the city of Chicago was incorporated in 1837. There was a medical school, a weekly newspaper, but no Lutheran Church. German Lutherans who chose to settle within the city were establishing themselves. but it would not be until 1843 when the First St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church began in a grocery store on the corner of Franklin and Lake Streets. Their first church was built in March 1844 at the corner of LaSalle and Ohio Streets. . Their earliest burials were made in City Cemetery until burials were banned within the city.  First St. Paul’s and their “daughter” congregation Emanuel then in 1859 established a cemetery named German Lutheran Cemetery of Saint Paul and Emanuel Churches. It was renamed Wunder’s Churchyard in 1919 after Rev. Heinrich Wunder, (1830‑1913) who was the second pastor of First Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church along with Immanuel Lutheran Church.Church, First Saint Paul’swunders sign


German immigration into Chicago reached a peak about 1890, and therefore a need for larger German Lutheran cemeteries for the city. These were begun by coalitions of Chicago area churches. In 1872, Concordia Cemetery 6BH1660opened just down the street from German Waldheim and Forest Home cemeteries in Forest Park. Then in 1894,  bethaniacemetery-ilBethania Lutheran Cemetery, next to Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, opened in Justice to serve the southwest side of Chicago. And finally in 1900 St. Lucas Cemetery, renamed to St. Luke Cemetery,  near Foster and Pulaski, opened by St. Luke’s Church located on Belmont near Lincoln.2191557158_6c2f25f537_z

I had envisioned posting here a full listing and history of each one of Lutheran cemeteries in the Chicago and Cook County area, drawing on some my 20 years of research. I concluded however that this was not feasible, so I will just list the majority of them here, in no particular order and dates are approximate. I must save the history of each for a future standalone blog.

1840 Saint Peter’s Lutheran Cemetery ‑ Schaumburg                   

   (Also known as: Schween’s Grove, Sarah’s Grove)

1846 St John’s Ev. Lutheran Cemetery – Plum Grove

 (Also known as: Mount Hope Cemetery, United Evangelical Congregation Wickliffe, Highland Grove Cemetery,  St. John United Church of Christ )

1848 Saint John’s Cemetery ‑ O’Hare Field  REMOVED                       

   (Also known as: St Johannes, Ev Saint John,  Wolf Cemetery,  St John’s Community Cemetery.)plane

1850 Wilmers Old Settlers Cemetery – Chicago   REMOVED

   (Also known as: Evangelical Zions of Leyden

1850  St John’s Ev Lutheran Cemetery – Mt. Prospect

   (Also known as: Saint Johannes)st john mt prospect 3st john mt prospevt

1851 St John’s Ev Lutheran Cemetery ‑ Rodenburg      st john rodenburg                   

1852 St Matthew’s Ev Lutheran Cemetery  –  Lemont                     

    (Also known as: Lutheran Cemetery near Lemont)

1859 Wunders Churchyard    Chicago

Wunder’s has been known by many names:  German Lutheran Cemetery of Saint Paul and Emanuel Churches, First Evangelical Congregation of Saint Paul Cemetery,  Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Cemetery, Wunder’s Kirchof, Wunder’s Burying Ground, Lutheran German Cemetery, Rev. Wunder’s Churchyard, Pastor Wunder’s Kirchof Churchyard, and German Protestant Cemetery


1859 Saint Paul’s Ev Lutheran Cemetery ‑ Skokie

   (Also known as: Evangelisch Lutherische Saint Paul Gesillschaft Cemetery)

1859 St Paul Ev Luth Cemetery-Mt. Prospect                         

 1863 St Peter’s Ev Neighborhood Church Cemetery                         

within Memory Gardens Cemetery (formerly Euclid Lawn or Euclid‑Rand Park Cemetery

1868 St. Peter’s Ev & Ref Ch Cemetery – Skokie 

(Also known as: Saint Peters United Church of Christ Cemetery)

st peter skokie

1868 St. Paul Ev Luth Ch Cemetery – Seiden Prairie

(Also known as: Seiden Prairie Cemetery)

1872 Concordia Cemetery – Forest Park6BH1660

1880 Saint Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery ‑ Wheeling Twp                         

(Also known as: Part of Memory Gardens, formerly Euclid‑Rand, Euclid Lawn)

1881 Bethany Lutheran Cemetery   Lemont

beth lemont

(Also known as: Swedish Bethany Cemetery & Swedish Cemetery)

1896   Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Cemetery                         

(Also known as: German Protestant ‑ Niles Evangelical., Lutheran, Maine)

1894  Bethania Lutheran Cemetery

(Also known as: Bethania Cemetery Association)

1899 Saint John Ev Lutheran Cemetery – Glenview     st john glenview               

1899 Saint John’s Ev Lutheran – Arlington Heights                         

1900  Saint Luke Cemetery                          

Also known as: Saint Lukas, then St. Lucas Cemeterycemeteryheaderhistory

Saint John’s Church Cemetery                         

(Also known as: Saint Johannes, LaGrange Cemetery)

Bloom Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery     Chicago Heights

(Also known as: St Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery – Chicago Heights)

Christ Lutheran Cemetery     Tinley Parkchrist ev orland tinley

1850 Coopers Grove Cemetery        Tinley Park

(Also known as: St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery)

1851 Deer Grove Cemetery     Palatine

(Also known as: Deer Grove Society of Evangelicals Association)

1920 Ebenezer Cemetery        Oak Forest

1894 Eden Memorial Park Cemetery        Schiller Park


1847 Emanual Evangelical Church Cemetery     Northfield

(Also known as: Pioneer Cemetery, United Brethren Cemetery, Au Plain)

1899 Evangelical and Reformed Cemetery – Hoffman Estates

(Also known as: Greve and Wildcat Grove Cemetery)

First Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery at Blue Island – Alsip

(Also known as: First Lutheran,  Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Lutheran Cemetery,)313377-R2-102-102_104

1875 German Evangelical Cemetery –  Streamwood

1852 Immanual Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery         Matteson

(Also known as: Skunk’s Grove)

1858 Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery Hillside

(Also known as: Proviso Lutheran Cemetery, German Evangelical Lutheran.

imm hillside2

1871 Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery Des Plaines

(Also known as: Des Plaines Lutheran Cemetery, Germ Evangelical Lutheran Saint Stephens)imm des pl

1876 Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery Glenview

(Also known as: Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery and Glenview Cemetery)

Immanuel United Church Cemetery         StreamwoodCEM2290999_131775633526

Lutheran Home & Service for the Aged Cemetery       Arlington Heights

(Also known as: Altenheim ‑ Arlington Heights)

1886 Mt. Olive Cemetery – Chicago

(Also known as: Scandinavian Lutheran Cemetery)

mt olive_2

1837 North Northfield Cemetery     Northfield

(Also known as: North Northfield Cemetery Association)

Northfield Union Cemetery    Northfield

(Also known as: German Ev. Reformed Church Cemetery, Evangelical Lutheran Reformed

1864 Oak Glen Cemetery        – Lansing

 (Also known as: St Johns Evangelical Lutheran and Trinity Lutheran)oakglen

1840 Plum Grove Cemetery (old)                          

 (Also known as: Lost Plum Grove Cemetery and Wolfrum Cemetery)

1862 Plum grove – Palatine

 (Also known as: Salem Cemetery, Salem Evangelical Church Cemetery, (German Methodist))salem-300x229

1872 Tinley Park Cemetery  (Zion)  Tinley Park

(Also known as: Oak Forest Cemetery, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, and Vogt Cemetery)

1859 Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery     – Tinley Park

 (Also known as: Bachelor’s Grove, Berzel’s Grove Cemetery)

1859 Trinity Lutheran Cemetery     Burr Ridge

1870 Union Cemetery   Palatine

(Also known as: German, South Side Cemetery (Palatine), and Palatine Union)union pal

1872 Vogt Cemetery      Tinley Park

(Also known as: Oak Forest Cemetery, Zion Lutheran. Cemetery, Tinley Park)zion tinley

Zion Church Cemetery Matteson

(Also known as: Evangelical Lutheran Zion Congregation of Matteson)zion mat

One thought on “Celebrate Lutheran Cemeteries”

  1. My father was on the board of directors at St. Luke Cemetery. The board was meeting in the office building, one night in the late 1970’s. A car lost control and crashed through the fence on Pulaski. The board members called the police and then walked down the crashed car to render assistance. The driver was sitting in the car and became extremely agitated as the board approached the car, out of the darkness. He later confided, he had been imbibing and thought that the board were ghostly spirits coming to collect him.

    Liked by 1 person

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