The Cemetery Fence

The references to the cemetery fence within the Common Council files all mention the need for its repair to prevent pigs and cows from entering the cemetery grounds. I found no mention of a farm on the city-owned land north of the surveyed cemetery grounds, although the 12-acre parcel acquired from the heirs of Jacob Milliman in 1850 was previously farmland. In my audio conversation with Dr. Lester H. Fisher about the construction of the Lincoln Park Zoo's "Farm In The Zoo", I note the irony of the urban zoo's farm display occupying the grounds exactly north of the fence here described where the farm animals were entering the cemetery grounds.


April 25th, 1853

That the fence around the Cemetery Ground be fixed,
(previous to it being Whitewashed) so as to prevent Pigs
and other Animals from Entering said Ground from under
the fence, and that the City Sexton be authorised to proceed
at once to make said improvements.

May 3, 1855

Ordered that city superintendant, under the direction of the Com.
on Wharves & Pub Grounds, be and he is hereby directed to
Repair the Fence around the Chicago cemetery in such
immediately a manner as to prevent
Cattle from Destroying Shurubury or other
improvements in Said Cemetery.

from the Commission of Public Works, Annual Report, 1863:

“ About six months ago a large portion of the fence of the cemetery was blown down and damaged by a strong wind, and we have repaired it as well as possible under the circumstances. A portion of the fence on the east side of the cemetery was almost covered by drifted sand. The boards of this fence being rotten, we considered it best not to raise it, but put new boards above the old ones where the sand had covered them."


To the Mayor and Aldermen
in Common Council

Several Complaints being made of lot holders of the
old Cemetery, of Cattle running at large over the grounds.
I therefore recommend the passage of the following resolution

Valentine Ruh

Resolved: That the board of Public Works be and they
are hereby requested to order the building of a fence
between the old Cemetery and Park running East and West.

Adopted Oct 16th 1865.

Presented to the Mayor for approval Oct. 21st 1865.
AH Bodman, City Clerk.

Approved Oct. 23rd 1865.

J.B. Rice Mayor
All documents on this page reproduced, courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository. One hundred and two years after the last mention of a fence in the Chicago Cemetery, in a March 26, 1967 Chicago Tribune article titled "Auction-Packed Viewing Planned on Channel 11", the cemetery fence appeared again. In this newspaper article about the Chicago public televeision station's first annual auction to raise funds for the station, among the items being offered was "5 feet of old Lincoln Park cemetery fence."

Pamela Bannos © 2017