“If we get separated while walking through the cemetery, meet me at Highland Avenue and Main Avenue”.
Yes, streets, roads, and avenues actually have names in some cemeteries. I would guess that this topic may not have been often mentioned before. I was fascinated by seeing actual street signs in Jewish Waldheim. I am not sure how many of the larger cemeteries name their streets, but I would like to know more. The two Chicago area cemeteries are Graceland on Chicago’s north side and Jewish Waldheim in Forest Park.
If you are into giving trivia questions, one or more of these street names are sure to be tough to guess. As a side note, St. Adalbert’s Catholic Cemetery has a city street (Newark) bisecting it. And All Saint’s Catholic Cemetery has two sections, on both sides of River Road.
In order to be politically correct, I have omitted signs like “Dead End” or “One Way- Do not Enter”’ Addition and comments welcome! Continue reading “Cemetery Street Names”
Cemeteries command little respect when the “powers that be” want to build or expand an airport. Our departed ancestors are simply “in the way” when we focus on aeronautical progress. The classic and most recent case was the destruction of St. Johannes Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery on the west end of O’Hare International Airport, until a few years ago, at the foot of runway 9-R. There, some 1,400 people and five acres of cemetery of the St. John United Church of Christ in Bensenville, were dug up to expand the “the world’s busiest airport.” Another nearby cemetery, Resthaven, clings to existence.
But this story is about a third, least known cemetery over there by runway 32-R, on the far eastern edge of the airport. It was the first to be removed in the name of progress. Lets look at Wilmer’s Old Settler Cemetery also known as the cemetery for the Evangelical Zions Society of Leyden Township. Continue reading “The third and least known cemetery in O’Hare Airport”
The Jewish faith, as well as some others, have a wonderful and thoughtful custom of leaving a small stone on the grave. Placing a stone on the grave is an act of remembrance and serves as a sign to others that someone has visited the grave. It also enables visitors to honor the burial and the deceased.
Why stones you ask? Stones are lasting and fitting symbols of the lasting presence of the deceased’s life and memory. Why not Flowers? Flowers are a good metaphor for life. Life withers; it fades like a flower. For that reason, flowers are an apt symbol of passing, but while flowers may be a good metaphor for the brevity of life, stones seem better suited to the permanence of memory. Stones do not die. Continue reading “Leaving a stone at a gravesite”
One of the most unusual buildings in a Chicago area cemetery is one that consists of just an elevator. It is a beautiful structure with stained glass windows and could easily be thought of as a small chapel. The questions most often asked are where and why. Continue reading “An Elevator in a Cemetery!”
(Also known as: Lake and Wabash Burial site)
NW corner Lake Street and Wabash Ave
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois 60601
South Township Section: 10 Township 39 Range: 14
This burial site, now the northwest corner of Lake and Wabash, was used in 1832 to quickly bury soldiers from Fort Dearborn who died of Cholera. The Chicago Tribune of August 8, 1897 described the location as the west side of Wabash (50 east), between Lake (200 north) and South Water Street. Early reports described the site as being “not far from where the American Temperance House was later erected.” A later report stated that the Leander J McCormick Building was erected on this site in 1872. Despite being so close to the Fort Cemetery, it appears that this was a separate location. Continue reading “Cholera Cemetery – Chicago 1835”
Funeral streetcars were found in major cities including Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Los Angeles, and others. The Metropolitan Chicago transit system built two streetcars in 1910 built specifically for funeral service, each having drapes on the windows and a special compartment for the casket. Continue reading “Funeral Streetcars”