Friday, October 23, 2009
So I've started in pretty heavily on my project, and I am finding a wealth of information. There is so much to learn about the cemeteries of Chicago! I decided to start with Forest Park, since that's where I live so it is the most accessible. I've found out that there are 5 cemeteries in my town alone! Thats a bunch. The eeriest by far is the one at Altenheim, which is the scary cemetery Luis was talking about in class. First I googled about cemeteries in FoPa, and that's how I got the name of the place. Apparently, the cemetery is actually owned by the old folks home. There's a bunch of history about it, but I'm going to save some of the mystery for my project. Anyway...I went over there yesterday to talk to the woman in charge of the nursing home (which is now an independent living community for seniors. That gets into the history aspect that I'm going to have in my project) and she gave me the little history that the Chicago Historical Society wrote about the cemetery in 1992. I guess that's the last time any real progress was made about the cemetery; there hasn't been a burial there in over 20 years. There is a bunch of political mumbo jumbo about the rights to enter the cemetery, because all accessibility has been bought up by the city, but I got permission to go in from the lady inside. I also have a list of all the people buried there, and the place where they are supposed to be buried. The headstones are all overturned and broken, which makes it really eerie. I didn't find the video tape Luis told me about, but there were some eerie fake flowers on one of the graves, and a few unopened Ice Houses. I'm trying to research some of the people buried there, and see if I can get any good ghost stories about the place. Diane, the lady at Altenheim, is sending me some info she has about the people buried there and their decendents, some of whom still reside at Altenheim. So I'm looking forward to possibly talking to some of them and maybe working on a collection of history about the cemetery. On another note, the cemetery is on some list of endangered cemeteries, and there is little effort being made to conserve it, so Diane was really excited to help me out for the sake of the cemetery. I also discovered a wealth of information on the other cemeteries in FoPa, so I'm really looking forward to my photo excursion for Saturday. I know my post probably isn't going to show up on the blog now, but if anyone reads the stuff directly from my page and you'd like to come with, I'm bringing people along so just email me and we can arrange it. I'll keep everyone posted. Happy ghost hunting!