A Rainy Day Visit to Forest Home Cemetery

Summary

Forest Home Cemetery

Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park is another Victorian Era gem. It is part of a cluster of cemeteries is a relatively small town. Wikipedia has this to say about the town and its cemeteries:

The community (formerly part of a larger town called Harlem) officially became incorporated under the name of Forest Park on April 17, 1907.

For much of its history, Forest Park was known as a “Village of cemeteries,” with more dead “residents” than living ones; some figures estimate the ratio at 30:1, dead to alive. Forest Park cemeteries include: Altenheim,[9] German Waldheim (now merged into Forest Home),[10]Jewish Waldheim (producer Mike Todd is buried in Beth Aaron there[11]),[12] Woodlawn[13][14] (including Showmen’s Rest),[15][16] and Concordia.[9][17] Forest Home cemetery is home to the famous Haymarket Riot monument.[18]

Forest Park was host to the Forest Park Amusement Park, a small but popular amusement park at the end of the train lines, from 1907 to 1922. Unfortunately there was a spectacular fire which all but decimated the park and it never reopened. Its former location is now occupied by the Forest Park station on CTA’s Blue Line at Desplaines Ave.[19][20] From 1927 to 1928, Forest Park also had a radio station called WNBA, with its studios near Des Plaines and Roosevelt Road.[20]

In 2007, the town held a summer-long centennial celebration. Forest Park has also held two other centennial celebrations, one in 1956 for when the first settlers came and one in 1984 for the 100th anniversary of the creation of the town of Harlem.[21]

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About the Images

I visited on a cold rainy day when the clouds were thick enough that not much sunlight drifted down. The images are appropriately drab and yet there is texture in the stones of the monuments. The final three images in the second group are of the Haymarket Martyr’s Monument. Wikipedia has the following description:

The Haymarket affair (also known as the Haymarket massacre or Haymarket riot) was a demonstration and unrest that took place on Tuesday May 4, 1886, at the Haymarket Square[3] in Chicago. It began as a rally in support of strikingworkers. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they dispersed the public meeting. The bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians and the wounding of scores of others.

In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy although the prosecution conceded none of the defendants had thrown the bomb. Seven were sentenced to death and one to a term of 15 years in prison. The death sentences of two were subsequently commuted to terms of life in prison and another committed suicide in jail rather than face the gallows. The other four were hanged on November 11, 1887.

The Haymarket affair is generally considered significant for the origin of international May Day observances for workers.[4][5] In popular literature, this event inspired the caricature of “a bomb-throwing anarchist.”

The site of the incident was designated a Chicago Landmark on March 25, 1992.[6] The Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument in nearby Forest Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark on February 18, 1997.[2]

You may notice some streaks in the images. Guess what? Those are rain drops. It was coming down hard enough that I got drenched as did the camera lens. Fortunately I use neutral glass filters to avoid getting dirt and moisture on the front element of the lens. I stopped to wipe it down before continuing.

The Google Map

One other point is that the Google Map application identifies this area as being the Waldheim Jewish Cemetery. If you follow Dempster Road a bit further south you do indeed reach the entrance to that cemetery but it is about a mile or more to the south. And yet further is the Free Sons of Israel Cemetery entrance. Across the street is another Jewish cemetery. The most notable thing about these cemeteries is how tightly packed are the grave sites. I will return to photograph at least one of them in the near future.