Union Cemetery

Photo added by David Wrzesinski - Smith

Union Cemetery

Woodstock Street
Crystal Lake, McHenry County, Illinois, USA
Memorials 3,616 added (96% photographed)

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The city of Crystal Lake sprawling across parts of two townships began as a small community near a clear and beautiful lake in Algonquin Township. Up until the most recent times it was known as a resort area and attracted vacationers from around the Chicago area. Just across the township line to the northeast lay the little village of Nunda. This was a business center right from the beginning. It developed around the railroad which guaranteed its continued existence. Proximity made the villages natural rivals but also ensured that they would eventually grow together and become one. As it turned out, Crystal Lake gained ascendancy and Nunda began to be assimilated. In 1908 its name was changed to North Crystal Lake and in 1914 it was fully integrated as part of the city of Crystal Lake. Today few remember the business district often called Old Town was once the independent village of Nunda. Part of the process of intertwining their destinies occurred when it became clear a new cemetery would be needed in the area. Both villages appointed members to serve on a committee to locate suitable land. In June of 1888 they jointly purchased ten acres for $1500 from Elihu Hubbard, an early settler in the Midwest but only a recent resident of Nunda. Lots were promptly laid out and Emma Schoonhoven became the first burial in August of that year. This cemetery is a good example of those built in the latter part of the 19th century. It features large family-sized lots surrounded on all sides by generous grassy aisles. Stately old trees are scattered throughout and a Civil War memorial statue holds a commanding position in the center of the main driveway. The monument was the first project of the new cemetery and quickly became a center for Memorial Day activities. There have been a few changes since the burial grounds were originally laid out. The tool house located in the northeast corner of Block 21 was removed. In 1941 a larger maintenance building was erected in the area designated as a potter's field and those burials were moved to the far southwest corner of the cemetery. Some burials remain on the east and west sides of the new building. Some of the grassy aisles have been filled in with graves. Two new rows of graves were platted along the east border together with a modern columbarium. Sometime around 1920 the numbering system along the southwest corner was changed to reflect individual grave numbers rather than lot numbers. There was some confusion over this and the records sometimes use the individual numbers and sometimes use the standard block and lot numbers. Many of the prominent names in local history are to be found here. There are also interesting and tragic stories among the more recent burials. Here lies Alvina Peters, the only Crystal Lake mother to lose two sons in World War II. Later, another son died in a well cave-in. Here lies Police Chief George Ehlert, whose intriguing marker "Our Chief led many to believe the graveyard was built on an Indian burial ground. So, although a third cemetery has been established for the ever-expanding city, this gracious old place still is writing the history of Crystal Lake on its granite markers and bronze tablets.

Contact Information:
Crystal Lake Union Cemetery Association
8012 Ridgefield Road
Crystal Lake, IL 60012
(815) 459-0547


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GPS Coordinates: 42.2433, -88.3275

  • Added: 2 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #108645