Forest Home Cemetery (Chicago)

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Forest Home Cemetery, Chicago, in May 1986 during ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Haymarket Affair
Emma Goldman's grave. Jo Davidson was the sculptor of the bas relief.

Forest Home Cemetery, incorporating the German Waldheim Cemetery, is located at 863 S. DesPlaines Ave., Forest Park, Illinois, adjacent to the Eisenhower Expressway. Straddling the Des Plaines River, the cemetery is in Cook County, just west of Chicago.[1]


Forest Home Cemetery was the site of a Potawatomi village and "burial ground until 1835".[2][3] Ferdinand Haase, "founder of Forest Park", and other "members of the Haase family" are buried on what at one time also was a Haase family homestead.[2] The cemetery was formally established "and incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois in 1876".[2]

The German Waldheim Cemetery was "organized by a group of German Masonic Lodges in 1873" with the "first interment" on May 9, 1873. The Waldheim Cemetery was established as a non-religion-specific cemetery, where Freemasons, Romani, and German-speaking immigrants to Chicago could be buried without regard for religious affiliation.

The two adjacent cemeteries were merged on February 28, 1969,[2] with the combined cemetery being called Forest Home (Waldheim means forest home in German).

Haymarket memorial[edit]

The "Haymarket martyrs", as the five defendants sentenced to death in the Haymarket affair came to be called among their sympathizers, were buried at Waldheim because since its establishment, it had a policy of not discriminating on the basis of race, ethnicity, or politics. In addition, it was the only Chicago-area cemetery that would accept their remains.[4]:4 After their burial, the cemetery became a place of pilgrimage for anarchists, leftists, and union members. In 1893, the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument, designed by sculptor Albert Weinert, was erected. Due to the historical importance of the Haymarket affair and the monument's role as an international pilgrimage site, it was the first cemetery memorial designated as a National Historic Landmark.[citation needed].

In homage to the Haymarket martyrs, many other anarchists and socialists are buried at Waldheim, including:[5]

Other notable interments[edit]

The cemetery also includes the graves of:

The cemetery is also the final resting place for several victims of the 1903 Iroquois Theater fire that killed over 600.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graveyards of Chicago
  2. ^ a b c d Forest Home Cemetery. n.d. "Points of Interest". Forest Park, IL.
  3. ^ The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest (17 October 2003). "Nature's Choicest Spot: A Guide to Forest Home and Germany Waldheim Cemeteries". Franzosenbusch Heritage Society. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Robin Bachin, National Historic Landmark Nomination, Haymarket Martyrs' Monument. Submitted September 1, 1995. Designated a National Historic Landmark February 18, 1997. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Biographies". Illinois Labor History Society. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ Sawyers, June Skinner. Chicago Portraits: New Edition. Northwestern University Press. pp. 53–54. ISBN 0810126494. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°52′11″N 87°49′11″W / 41.8698°N 87.8198°W / 41.8698; -87.8198