Chicago’s Calvary Cemetery

When my Mom and I visited Chicago in June our Airbnb was right next to this amazing cemetery. As cemetery.. enthusiasts, we of course had to stop and check it out. The Calvary Cemetery is located right next to Lake Michigan in Evanston, and is the oldest existing cemetery established by the Archdiocese of Chicago. It was established in 1859 on All Souls Day as the main burial site for Catholics from Chicago and the surrounding areas. In the nineteenth century, when there were less cemeteries and high death rates, it was not uncommon for Calvary to exceed 4,000 burials a year. The amazing thing about Calvary is all of the burial records are intact. It is the burial place of Mayors, Governors, public figures like White Sox and Blackhawks coaches, and thousands of Irish immigrants. Today there are over 16,750 laid to rest in Calvary, and it is nearly at capacity.


At the center of Calvary was a lagoon, which many of graves faced. But in recent (as far as being established in 1859) years the lagoon was filled in. I was not able to find an exact date, but these two statues dedicated to St. Peter and St. John the Baptist flank what would have been either end of the lagoon.

Artie and Willie were brothers who died at the ages of 4 and 2. Their grave would have over looked the lagoon when they died, just 10 days apart, in 1879.

As we drove around the cemetery we came to a crossroad, complete with tiny parking lot. In the center of this crossroad was an island like grave site. The whole island has stone ledges surrounding it, creating a diamond shape. Stone coffin shaped graves are the headstones of John A. Lynch and his family. The two angels flank the entrance into the island. This site really stood out to me. I wish I knew more about Mr. Lynch and his family.




When my Mom and I happened upon this beast of a mausoleum we were both totally taken aback. This thing is gigantic. I believe John F. Cuneo Jr. is still living. According to his fathers obituary, John F. Cunero Sr. was a self-made multimillionaire, so I guess it makes sense that his son has the largest most beautiful art deco inspired mausoleum.




After researching the graves I took pictures of, I found many other sites I wish I had seen. I guess in a cemetery of over 16,000 you literally can’t see them all in one morning.

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