Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Shopping Center Cemetery

I’ve been to many cemeteries and seen many cemeteries in my life. I’ve seen some that were out in the middle of a cornfield. I’ve seen one that’s right across from a hamburger stand, I’ve seen one that’s right in the backyard of an apartment complex and I’ve even been inside one that’s haunted. But never in my life have I seen a cemetery that was right in the middle of a shopping center. However, if you ever have a chance to visit Palatine (a suburb of Chicago), you must see this to believe it. The Salem Cemetery is now part of the Palatine Township and it’s one of the most bizarre places I’ve seen. I’m sure that because it is a cemetery, the contractors couldn’t tear it down so they built the streets, restaurants and shopping marts around it… the result was this:
Note: You can't really see the space the cemetery occupies but you can clearly see the shopping center behind the gravestones.

The reason why I know of this place is because there is a nice 50s style diner that is situated on the other side of the gravestones. If you look really carefully in the second picture, you can see my parents waving at me, letting me know that the diner has been closed for the evening. Imagine, eating at a nice restaurant with the family only to realize that you parked right on top of a cemetery. I have to agree with Amanda; it bares an uncanny resemblance to Poltergeist. But what about the actual cemetery? Well, I did some research and this is what I found.

“The community became part of newly formed Palatine Township in 1850 as German immigrants arrived. In 1862 they erected the Salem Evangelical Church, whose 40-food-square church cemetery at the corner of Kirchoff and Plum Grove Roads still stood in 1998, a bit of history amid bustling traffic and a strip shopping center.”

- Encyclopedia of Chicago

“Salem Cemetery was established as a family cemetery in the 1850’s by Frederick and Dorothea Thies. It was deeded to the Salem Evangelical Church in 1922. Palatine Township was given custody of the cemetery in 1974. The cemetery, located at Plum Grove and Kirchoff Roads, consists mainly of member of the Thies, Normeier and Eseman families.”

- Palatine Township

Indicated by the pink point, you can see the cemetery is literally between a busy street and a parking lot. A truly odd spectacle. For more pictures (ones I didn’t take) visit page 1, page 2 and page 3 of the Barrington Local History’s Flickr stream.


HorrO said...

That definitely is a crazy place for a cemetery. I don't think I would eat there.

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