Grave Mistake-the Story of Cook County Cemetery at Dunning

Cook County Cemetery at Dunning, Chicago, Illinois.

The most unique story of all Chicago area cemeteries. With over 38,000 burials spanning some seventy years, It began as a cemetery for the Cook County institutions at Dunning. These consisted of the County Poor house and farm opened 1854, the Insane Asylum opened 1869, the infirmary opened 1882, and the Consumptive hospital (TB), opened 1899 .

The cemetery rapidly grew in size and soon evolved as the official county Potters Field for the unclaimed and unwanted dead of Chicago and Cook County. The cemetery received bodies from the Cook County Hospital, the city morgue, many Chicago area hospitals, foundling homes, and many other city social institutions. It was the official cemetery serving the poor and indigent of the Cook County, Illinois from 1854 to well into the 1920’s.

And then it was forgotten. Hidden behind the fences surrounding the Dunning institution, the cemetery, without markers or stones was out of sight and out of mind until March of 1989 when builders attempted to recycle the land into houses and condos.

In May of 1989, Harold Henderson wrote “Grave Mistake” an excellent full length feature article about the beginning months of the struggle to rediscover, understand and fight for this huge forgotten burial place.

Here in Mr. Henderson’s words is the entire text of this well researched and now timeless article,  published in the Chicago Reader on September 22 1989, just as the rediscovery of the cemetery was in it’s first early months. The story would go on for years after this article, and those souls who are buried there  will never again be forgotten.

 

At the very end of this article I will post a series of pictures and maps that will help add some visual understanding to the article.

How did the old county cemetery get in the way of Ridgemoor Estates?

By Harold Henderson Continue reading “Grave Mistake-the Story of Cook County Cemetery at Dunning”

Philip Maxwell, Someone for you to Meet

phillip maxwell portraitHis name was Philip Garrison Maxwell,  born April 3 1799 in Guilford Vermont. He became a physician for the United States Army and was assigned to Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Illinois as an Assistant Surgeon.   From 1844 to 1847, he ran a doctor’s office at the corner of Lake and Clark Streets. But more  about him later.  The famous Chicago Maxwell Street, was named after him.
Continue reading “Philip Maxwell, Someone for you to Meet”

Celebrating the Corner Drug Store

Seems like there was a drugstore in every neighborhood and one or two within easy walking distance of home.

Let me introduce you to Edwin John Sanders,  one of those kindly people that everyone should have had the privilege to know. Edwin was born  March 14, 1882 in Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska, USA,  the son of Adeline Tessier and Herman Sanders. In 1901 he graduated from the Iowa Pharmacy School, Highland Park College inDes Moines, then the Chicago College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1904. Continue reading “Celebrating the Corner Drug Store”

Fond Memories-Walter’s Waterfall

s-l1600 Walter Eugene Olson was born February 18 1884. If you are a real Chicagoan, and a bit old, you might well remember the gift he gave to all of us. It was the  22 acre Olson Park and Waterfall which opened September 27, 1935 on the northwest corner of Diversey and Pulaski (back then Crawford Avenue). in Chicago. factoryHe wanted to “transplant some of the Wisconsin out of doors spirit to the then somewhat drab factory grounds.”

 

ghjhgNext to his massive carpet factory there was this landmark park made of 800 tons of stone,  800 yards of soil, 3,500 perennials,  junipers, spruces, and pines. There were paths with birch railings and foot bridges that allowed visitors to walk across the waterfall, a birch bark canoe, a teepee, a statue of a Native American, and more. There was a rock garden, picnic area, bird sanctuary, a duck pond, ravines and caves. In 1942 there were peacocks, golden pheasants, and even Corriedale sheep! Continue reading “Fond Memories-Walter’s Waterfall”

Rosehill Cemetery Railroad Station

Thank you all for so much interest and response to my earlier post “New Years 1885 at 12:30PM”,  the story about the daily funeral  trains to Rosehill and Calvary Cemeteries on the Northside of Chicago.

If you did not see it, you can hop back to that January 1, 2019 post with this link:

https://chicagoandcookcountycemeteries.com/2018/12/30/new-years-1885-at-1230pm/

 

 

But wait!! There’s more! There is more to share about Rosehill Station Continue reading “Rosehill Cemetery Railroad Station”

Lauren’s Gimmicks

3dYou might not recall his first few gadgets, the spring driven clock that kept better time, three-dimensional glasses,  or an automatic bridge table card shuffler.  During the World War II, he helped develop a remote control of missiles, infrared sensors to guide bombs and a new type of gyroscope.

His story gets way better so please read on! Continue reading “Lauren’s Gimmicks”

New Years 1885 at 12:30PM

wells_street_station_ca_1910On a cold but sunny day in January 1885,  I take you to Wells and Kinzie streets in Chicago, the then Wells Street depot of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. The station was sometime referred to as the Kinzie Depot. It was bounded by the Chicago River to the south and west, Kinzie Street to the north and Wells Street to the east.  The station is long gone, replaced by the Chicago and Northwestern Station (Ogilvie Transportation Center)   The Wells Street Station site is now the massive Merchandise Mart built in 1930.

stean Train number 31  was just one of fifty-five daily Northwestern trains.  What made this train different is that it is the daily Northwestern funeral train taking mourners and the deceased to Rosehill or Calvary Cemetery. The train leaves Chicago every day at 12:30 PM sharp, including Sunday north bound for the two cemeteries. Continue reading “New Years 1885 at 12:30PM”