Cemetery cannot be destroyed for O’Hare International Airport.

For some time now, I have been reading about Chicago’s plans to add a runway to O’Hare International Airport. Sadly, this necessitated the moving of many bodies buried in St. Johannes’ Cemetery on the land. Today’s Chicago Tribune carries a story that the court has put a stop to this, even for some families that had agreed to the bodies being moved. The city can no longer move any bodies at this site. The 161 year old cemetery belonged to St. John’s United Church of Christ.

“A state Appellate Court today temporarily barred the city of Chicago from acquiring a historic cemetery and relocating its graves to make way for a new runway at O’Hare International Airport. . . “

The comments are quite dramatic. It made me stop and wonder what my feelings would be. I know that this did happen in a cemetery where a maternal ggg grandmother is buried. In that case, the cemetery records burned to make the problem even worse. I guess I feel a need to go visit where my ancestors are buried. It also makes me wonder how many bodies might have been left under the runway. Cemeteries, especially burial places of Native Americans, have been given far too little respect in this country. How many Indian burial mounds have been bulldozed in the name of progress? My parents are buried right next to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Nope, I don’t want them moved.

© 2010 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

3 comments on “Cemetery cannot be destroyed for O’Hare International Airport.

  1. I have two great-great grandparents buried there. The operative word in that Tribune story, unfortunately, is “temporarily.” Opponents may now get a chance to present their case without the City of Chicago making the cemetery destruction a fait accompli. But the battle is a long way from over.


  2. The Savannah, Georgia international airport actually has two gravestones embedded in one of it’s runways! Many years ago a small cemetery was moved to make room for the runway. One family refused to re-inter two graves. So they were laid flat with a groove in the concrete as a border.
    They were pointed out to us by a Delta pilot and are easily seen as you start down the runway for takeoff.

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