German Waldheim Cemetery, previously known as Waldheim Cemetery, was originally founded in 1873 as a non-religion-specific cemetery, where Freemasons, Romani, and German-speaking immigrants to Chicago could be buried without regard for religious affiliation. In 1969 it merged with the adjacent Forest Home Cemetery, also founded in 1873, with the combined cemetery being called Forest Home (Waldheim means "forest home" in German).
Because it was unassociated with any religious institution, it was chosen as burial place of the Haymarket martyrs. After they were buried there, the cemetery became a place of pilgrimage for anarchists, leftists, and union members. Due to the importance of the event in history, and the monuments' role as an international pilgrimage site, the Haymarket memorial was the first cemetery memorial to be designated a National Historic Landmark. The Haymarket Martyrs' Monument was designed by sculptor Albert Weinert.
It has been reported that this cemetery is charging five dollars for looking up family members.
The cemetery is divided into east and west sections by the Des Plaines River; the office is located at the eastern end. A single-lane bridge, constructed in 2000, connects the east and west sections, and replaced the former two-lane bridge which had fallen into disrepair. The Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) runs along the cemetery's northern boundary; the expressway's construction in the early 1950s necessitated the relocation of over 2,500 graves in German Waldheim Cemetery (the northeastern portion), as was also true of several thousand graves in Concordia Cemetery, which is directly across the expressway. Sections designated by letters are generally within the former German Waldheim Cemetery, which forms the northern half of the area east of the river; numbered sections are within the original Forest Home Cemetery, which includes the entire area west of the river, as well as the southern half of the area to the east. For burials prior to May 1, 1990, the office staff will provide locations for up to two names at $5 each; assistance in locating the site is subject to the availability of a member of the grounds staff for an additional $25 fee.
GPS Coordinates: 41.8678, -87.8267
- Added: 2 Jan 2000
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #105696
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