I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
Friday, January 19, 2018
A Tombstone Tourist Making a Difference in Chicago
Photo by Mike Gustafson
For Tombstone Tourists residing, or planning a visit to Chicago,
there’s a new cemetery web site created by Barry Fleig that offers historical and contemporary
graveyard resources for the Windy City. Plus a lot more!
Fleig began the Chicago and Cook County Cemeteries Cemetery Guide in August last year. His site has a listing of more than
800 Chicago area graveyards, plus numerous Native American burial grounds. The
web site contains thumbnail sketches on 273 cemeteries, and more than 250 cemeteries
have been cross-referenced for easier research. More than 300 Jewish
cemeteries can be found in the Chicago containing more than 175,000 burials.
According to Fleig, these small cemeteries make up a patchwork of burial grounds located mainly in Jewish
Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, a suburb west of Chicago.
Tracks leading into Rosehill Cemetery
Besides burial site information, Fleig has also written numerous blog posts detailing
some of Chicago’s lesser known cemetery wonders including facts about daily
funeral trains that ran through Chicago in the 19th century, information
on three cemeteries located at O’Hare Airport, a cemetery that has a
elevator, and a cemetery that held a liquor license. The Windy City has its
share of history, and forgotten cemeteries abound under some of its most famous
buildings and tourist sites.
Fleig, a cemetery historian, focuses on finding cemeteries that have
disappeared. He was instrumental in the rediscovery of the Cook County Cemetery, the site of more than 38,000 burials on property that once belonged
to the Chicago State Hospital on the city’s northwest side. To date, nine acres
have been preserved under the Human Grave Protection Act.