Bohemian National Cemetery
Bohemian National Cemetery is a cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

 at 5255 North Pulaski Road
Pulaski Road (Chicago)
Pulaski Road is a major north-south thoroughfare in the city of Chicago, at 4000 W., or exactly five miles west of State Street. It is named after revolutionary war hero Casimir Pulaski...

 on the north side of Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...



The cemetery was established by members of Chicago's Czech
Czech American
Czech Americans are citizens of the United States who were born in, or who descended from, the territory of the historic Czech lands, , or succession states, now known as the Czech Republic...

 community in 1877. The community had been outraged when a Czech Catholic woman named Marie Silhanek was denied burial at several Chicago cemeteries because she supposedly never made a final confession
Sacrament of Penance (Catholic Church)
In the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is the method by which individual men and women may be freed from sins committed after receiving the sacrament of Baptism...

. In response, the Czechs purchased land in what was then Jefferson Township
Jefferson Township, Cook County, Illinois
Jefferson Township is a former civil township in Cook County, Illinois, United States that existed as a separate municipality from 1850 until 1889 when it was annexed into the city of Chicago. Its borders were Devon Avenue on the north, Harlem Avenue on the west, Western Avenue to the east, and...

 to create a cemetery that would be under their control. The original plot of land was 50 acres (202,343 m²). Over the years, the cemetery expanded to 126 acre (0.50990436 km²).

The cemetery was notably featured in the 1998 film U.S. Marshals
U.S. Marshals (film)
U.S. Marshals is a 1998 action thriller film starring Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes, and a sequel to The Fugitive. The storyline of U.S. Marshals does not feature the character Dr. Richard Kimble; the role of the protagonist has been passed onto Samuel Gerard and his team of U.S...

. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 2006.

Major features

Bohemian National Cemetery is known for its limestone gatehouse and its highly decorated columbarium
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns . The term comes from the Latin columba and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons .The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in...

 niches, which contain photographs, artwork, flags, and other mementos of the individuals whose ashes are stored there. Czech-American military veterans are honored through an American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 memorial, a Spanish–American War memorial, and a World Wars memorial, which were dedicated in 1889, 1926, and 1952, respectively. The cemetery also boasts two sculptures by Albin Polasek
Albin Polasek
Albin Polasek was a Czech-American sculptor and educator. He created more than four hundred works during his career, two hundred of which are now displayed in the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park, Florida.-Career:Born as Albín Polášek in Frenštát, Moravia , Polasek...

, who headed the sculpture department at the Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

. They are called Mother and Pilgrim.

Notable interments

  • Victims of the SS Eastland shipwreck (1915).
  • Anton Cermak
    Anton Cermak
    Anton Joseph Cermak was the mayor of Chicago, Illinois, from 1931 until his assassination by Giuseppe Zangara in 1933.-Early life and career:...

    , Chicago mayor assassinated in 1933.
  • Otto Kerner, Sr.
    Otto Kerner, Sr.
    Otto Kerner, Sr. was a Democratic Illinois Attorney General and a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. His son, Otto Kerner, Jr., was twice elected Democratic governor of Illinois, serving from 1961 to 1968 and also served as a judge on the Seventh Circuit, from...

    , judge and former Illinois Attorney General
    Illinois Attorney General
    The Illinois Attorney General is the highest legal officer of the state of Illinois in the United States. Originally an appointed office, it is now an office filled by election through universal suffrage...

  • Elsie Paroubek
    Elsie Paroubek
    Elsie Paroubek was a Czech-American girl who was the victim of kidnapping and murder in the spring of 1911. Her disappearance and the subsequent search for her preoccupied Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota law enforcement for six weeks, and her funeral was attended by between 2,000 and 3,000 people...

    , a five-year-old kidnapping and murder victim whose story and photo in the Chicago Daily News
    Chicago Daily News
    The Chicago Daily News was an afternoon daily newspaper published between 1876 and 1978 in Chicago, Illinois.-History:The Daily News was founded by Melville E. Stone, Percy Meggy, and William Dougherty in 1875 and began publishing early the next year...

    inspired Henry Darger
    Henry Darger
    Henry Joseph Darger, Jr. was a reclusive American writer and artist who worked as a custodian in Chicago, Illinois...

    's massive novel The Story of the Vivian Girls. She is buried with her family.
  • Charles J. Vopicka, U.S. ambassador to several eastern European countries.

Chicago Cubs columbarium

In 2009, the cemetery added a columbarium specially dedicated to Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

 fans. The structure is a replica of Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field is a baseball stadium in Chicago, Illinois, United States that has served as the home ballpark of the Chicago Cubs since 1916. It was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the Chicago Whales...

's red brick wall, with a stained glass image of the stadium's scoreboard and a yellow 400 foot (120 m) marker. The wall contains 288 niches, and seats from Wrigley Field have been placed along its base. A Cubs fan named Dennis Mascari helped raise funds for the project in hopes of making visits to the cemetery less depressing. The cemetery agreed to let him build the columbarium on their grounds, but nixed a plan to broadcast Cubs games through a nearby speaker. The Cubs themselves were not directly involved with the project; Mascari worked with Eternal Images, which makes baseball-themed funerary products.

External links

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