Wunder's Cemetery

Photo added by David M. Habben

Wunder's Cemetery
Also known as:  German Lutheran Cemetery

Originally known as German Lutheran Cemetery, Wunder's Cemetery was founded in 1859.In 1912 it was incorporated as the German Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery Association. On October 19, 1919 it was renamed Wunder's Cemetery Association to honor the memory of Heinrich Wunder, pastor for sixty-two years of First St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, currently located at 1301 N. LaSalle Drive (Chicago). Dr. Wunder had taken the initiative to establish a cemetery.First St. Paul's operated Wunder's Cemetery jointly with First Immanuel Lutheran Church until the 1980's when Fist Paul's became the sole trustee.

In the autumn of 1858 Chicago Citizens circulated a petition to halt burials in the Chicago Cemetery (located in present day Lincoln Park) because of concern about residential expansion into adjacent areas. This led to the cessation of the sale of burial plots in May 1859, followed by the cemetery's closing and the removal of bodies to cemeteries outside of the city limits after 1866. This necessitated the establishment of new cemeteries outside owhich was a separate town until annexed by Chicago in 1889. Lake View Township was named for the inn located on the nortwest corner of Byron and Sharidan Road, which provided refreshments for mourners prior to their return to Chicago.

Wunder's Cemetery is located on fourteen and a half acresbounded by Irving Park Road (formerly Albert and Graceland Roads) on the North, Clark Street (formerly Green Bay Road) on the west, Seminary Avenue (formerly Stella Street) and the Hebrew Benevolent Cemetery (often called Jewish Graceland) on the south. Wunder's Cemetery sits atop an ancient sandy beach ridge that provides good drainage and easy excavation. Both Green Bay Road and the old Lake Shore Plank Road (now Broadway) provided convenient transportation from Chicago, especially after 1870 when the streetcar ran up Broadway and across Irving Park Road to the entrances of Graceland and Wunder's Cemeteries.

The earliest surviving Minutes Book of the Board of Trustees of Wunder's Cemetery dates from October 16, 1859. The earliest date recorded for a burial is May 1864, but there are several pages of undated burials prior to that. The earliest death date transcribed (from German ledgers) is from 1850 for five year old Anna Maria Redell.She is named on a large monument with other family members. The earliest death date transcribed for an adult is 1853 for Engel M.J. Franck. Even though these dates predate the founding of Wunder's Cemetery, they are probably correct because Wunder's received some of the bodies disinterred from he Chicago Cemetery when it closed. The earliest birth date transcribed by the Chicago Genealogical Society (CGS) is 1787 for Daniel Millemann. A CGS book lists he headstones , but not their locations within Wunder's Cemetery, and may be viewed at www.ancestry.com . Some dates recorded on marble headstones have deteriorated aand cannot be read.

Many of Wunder's, First St. Paul's, and First Immanual's records are available on microfilm at Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60610.

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GPS Coordinates: 41.95349, -87.65925

  • Added: 1 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #108970