I don’t get back to Chicago as often as I’d like, but when I do, I always leave time for some cemetery research. One of my favorites is German Waldheim, now merged with Forest Home into one very big metropolitan cemetery just off the Eisenhower Expressway in Forest Park, Illinois.
The profile for German Waldheim on graveyards.com notes:
Unlike many other cemeteries of the time, Waldheim and Forest Home were open to all, not discriminating on the basis of ethnicity or religion, and therefore became very popular with immigrants. Funeral parties and families visiting graves could ride the Chicago and North Western railroad from the city, transferring to a Des Plaines Avenue streetcar.
I was delighted to find that my Kirschstein ancestors are buried in German Waldheim, not very far from the impressive memorial to the labor activists executed in 1887 by the State of Illinois for the Haymarket Riot three years before. In 1893, the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument was erected at German Waldheim. The inscription on the base says, "The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today." Isn't that great?
My great-grandfather arrived in Chicago in August of 1883, just a few months before the labor unrest that culminated in the violence in Haymarket Square. His daughter, my grandmother, always called it “Bughouse Square” instead and was very dismissive of the political rabblerousing that took place there. Now I wish I could ask her more about this famous bit of Chicago history and what she thought passing by this monument on her trips to the cemetery to visit her Kirschstein and Schumann relatives.