Within this section of Hidden Truths, detailing the chronology of the Chicago City Cemetery, there are many images of early documents. These documents, assumed to have been destroyed by the 1871 Chicago Fire, were discovered in 1983 in a warehouse on the southwest side of the city. Illinois State Archivists were denied access to the city's records during the Richard J. Daley administration in the 1960s and 1970s. Mark Sorensen, from that agency, returned to inquire again in 1983, after Harold Washington had been elected Mayor of Chicago. Sorenson found these missing documents stored in a city-owned building at 3150 S. Sacramento Avenue. The documents were taken downstate to become part of the Illinois State Archives.

The early papers presented on this Web Site are officially called the Chicago City Council Proceedings Files, 1833–1871. Known as the Common Council files in the records of their day, these documents contain every act and ordinance, and a great quantity of other detailed information that passed through the hands of the early city officials. After the documents were taken downstate, graduate students from Illinois' state universities sorted and catalogued every item. The documents were then photographed onto microfilm and are now stored with their microfilm reels at Northeastern Illinois University on Chicago's north side. These records are now keyword searchable on the Internet. Go here to navigate to information from those files.

I recorded a conversation with Northeastern Illinois University Graduate Intern, Jeff Wade, who assisted me in accessing the Common Council files. As part of our conversation, he described the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) holdings at the university facility. He also showed me an 1865 document requesting a fireproof safe to store these official city documents. Go here to listen to that conversation.

Menu items on the left, link to key conversations and developments in the early history of the Chicago City Cemetery.

Each section presents the chronological detailing of documents, newspaper articles, and other published items that illustrate the early history of the Chicago City Cemetery.

Courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.

An act granting to Chicago a lot in Sec 33,40,14 for Cemetery Purposes, February 10, 1837.

Pamela Bannos © 2021