Ten Cemeteries and Wrigley Field

Join me on a virtual tour of Chicago’s Northside cemetery corridor. It will help you to understand the growth of burial places along Clark Street,  a north-south street and one of the oldest roads in the city. It runs parallel to and not far from the shore of Lake Michigan, extending north into Evanston Illinois where it becomes Chicago Avenue.clark map Continue reading “Ten Cemeteries and Wrigley Field”

Cholera Cemetery – Chicago 1835

  (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”

Catholic Cemetery – Chicago 1842


   (Also known as: First Calvary, Old Catholic, North Ave Burying Ground)

An  Irish Catholic cemetery bounded by North, Schiller, Wolcott (now State), and Lake Michigan (Then approx. Astor Street )

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois     North Township

Section:   3 Township 39  Range: 14

Originally 10 acres, later about 30 acres   Open: 1842  – circa 1900


In 1842, Father de Saint Palais purchased 10 acres of an area bounded by North Avenue (1600 north), Schiller Street (1400 north), Wolcott (now State  St), and Lake Michigan   (The Lake Michigan shoreline of 1842 was farther inland than it’s present location, back then approximately Astor Street)

Continue reading “Catholic Cemetery – Chicago 1842”

Northside Cemetery – Chicago 1835

(Also known as: Chicago Avenue Cemetery)

“nothing but sand and sand”

Chicago Ave to five blocks north, Rush St, and Sand (Now St Clair)

    Chicago, Cook County, Illinois 60611

    North Township      Section: 3 Township 39  Range: 14

Original Acres:    10 acres   Open: 1835 –circa 1843

                 North Side Cemetery, was reportedly located at Chicago Avenue (800 north), east of Clark. It extending five blocks north between Rush Street, and Sand Street (Now Saint Clair – about 190 east).

The Chicago Tribune of August 8, 1897 described the location as   “… at the foot of Chicago Avenue, where the waterworks now stand. Continue reading “Northside Cemetery – Chicago 1835”

Southside Cemetery – Chicago 1835


South Township     Section:  27 Township 39  Range: 14

Open circa: 1835- 1847

 Let us remember a cemetery whose site later became a major Chicago brewery and now is the huge McCormick Place convention center and hotel complex.

About 1833, sixteen acres of land were purchased for a municipal town cemetery but reserved for Catholics. On August 15, 1835, the town surveyor was ordered to survey the property and completed the task on August 26. The Northside Cemetery was laid out at the same time, a subject of a separate blog post on this website.  Continue reading “Southside Cemetery – Chicago 1835”

1812 Massacre Site south of Fort Dearborn

Once located in the sand hills of the lake shore, between 16th and 18th,streets, centered  about east of 1729 S Prairie or the Northeast corner of 18th street and Prairie Avenue. Chicago, Cook County, Illinois 60605 

    South Township     Section: SW 1/4 22 Township 39  Range: 14

 This is one of the first early white burial sites in Chicago whose bodies were later reburied at the Fort Dearborn Cemetery.  Historical accounts state that on August 15, 1812, 39 men, 2 women, and 12 children led by Captain William Wells and John Kinzie started out south along the beach from Fort Dearborn for Fort Wayne when a surprise Indian attack took place. Their bones lay in the sand, half buried where they were killed, until 1816 when Fort Dearborn was reopened. They were then reburied at the Common Burial Ground at Fort Dearborn, also referred to as Fort Cemetery or Garrison Cemetery. Continue reading “1812 Massacre Site south of Fort Dearborn”

Fort Dearborn Cemetery


(Also known as: Common Burial Ground at Fort Dearborn and Garrison Cemetery)

South Township –     Section: E 1/2 10 Township 39  Range: 14  Circa 1805 – 1835


In the summer of 1803, the Schooner Tracy arrived with the building materials and supplies needed to construct the first Fort Dearborn. Another ship brought sixty‑six men and three officers. The fort, finished in late summer, 1803,  also served the early settlers but was destroyed during the massacre of 1812 and was not re-established until 1816.


And where ever people gather, deaths begin to occur and a place for the dead need to be established. Fort Dearborn Cemetery can well be considered Chicago’s first cemetery. Very little physical description of Fort Cemetery is known, but we know  the site was not much more than sand, which shifted with the winds off Lake Michigan. It was  difficult if not impossible to maintain the graves against the elements. Markers at best were probably simple wooden  headboards or crosses. Many other graves probably went unmarked.

Continue reading “Fort Dearborn Cemetery”