Tour of Dunning's Cemeteries

A Tour of Dunning's Cemeteries

by Phil Garofalo

Did you know that Dunning is a favorite ultimate destination for Chicago's movers and shakers, many of its rich and famous? They're even spending eternity here. As you might have guessed, I'm talking about famous departed Chicagoans. The deceased, the demised, the defunct...those whose buckets have been kicked. Dunning has a twelve cemeteries in and around its borders, of various sizes and denominations. This will be monthly running series. This month we'll take a look at Mount Olive Cemetery.

Mt. Olive Cemetery

Mt. Olive is a Lutheran Scandinavian cemetery on Narragansett and Byron. This cemetery's notables are mostly all sports figures. They include Barney Ross (1909-1967) a world champion professional boxer in three different weight divisions.  Herold Juul (1893-1942) a professional baseball pitcher for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops in 1914, a team in the then Federal League. And finally, Sybil Bauer (1903-1927). Bauer was a world-champion swimmer, an Olympic gold medalist in the backstroke, and world record holder. Interestingly, she was engaged to be married to Ed Sullivan, of the famous long running TV variety show. (“We have a really, really big SHOE tonight.”) Sadly, she died of cancer when she was just 23 years old.

Next month we'll visit the Zion Gardens Cemeteries, just south of Mt. Olive and learn about Chicago architect Dankmar Adler and Illinois' first jewish governor, Henry Horner.


Zion Gardens Cemetery

In this installment we're going to visit Zion Gardens Cemetery, at the south end of the large block that includes Mt. Olive Cemetery. It runs along the north side of Addison between Narragansett and Oak Park Avenue.

Zion Gardens is actually a grouping of several smaller Jewish cemeteries: Mt. Mayriv on the east, Narragansett side, Rosemont Park on the west, Oak Park Avenue Side, and in between a cemetery that itself was once three, Mt. Isaiah Israel/Mt. B'nai B'rith/Mt. B'nai Jehoshua.

Two notables buried at Mt. Mayriv are the great Chicago engineer and architect Dankmar Adler (1844-1900) and Illinois' first Jewish governor Henry Horner (1878-1940).

Dankmar Adler Monument, Mt. Mayriv CemeteryDankmar Adler's grave is marked by one of Dunning's most distinct visual references: a tall marble Corinthian column. It's visible from the sidewalk on Addison street. Adler, along with his famous partner Louis Sullivan, designed many beautiful buildings that pushed the boundaries of architectural engineering. Not to mention, contributing to the invention of the skyscraper along the way. Sadly many Adler-Sullivan buildings were lost due to shortsighted demolition, neglect, and fire. Thankfully, many are still standing throughout Chicago and elsewhere. One of the most spectacular is the Auditorium Theater downtown. His last building was the Temple Isaiah on the south side, which is now the Ebenezer Baptist Church. In the biography entry for Louis Sullivan, states, “Although Sullivan was usually viewed as the designer being backed by Adler's engineering skills, Adler's work showed an individual strength that has often been ignored.”

You probably know Horner Park and may have heard of the Henry Horner Homes, but who the heck is Henry Horner? Henry Horner was the Democratic governor of Illinois between 1933 and 1940. He was unusual among Illinois governors, not only in that he was Jewish, or that he was a lifelong bachelor―but that he was bracingly honest. According to Wikipedia, “His insistence on stopping graft and keeping state payrolls free of non-working patronage appointees put him at odds with the Democratic political organization...”.

The next Dunning necropolis we'll visit will be Irving Park Cemetery where three of the victims of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre are buried...along with one of the suspected gunmen. See you next time and in the meantime, keep on breathing!