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Excavation underway at NW Side cemetery; thousands of bodies could be unearthed

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CHICAGO-- The process to rebuild Oak Park Avenue begins Friday at the site of a one-time Dunning cemetery, a cemetery that holds the remains of Chicago's poorest and sickest residents who died between 1890 and 1912.

Crews have blocked off Oak Park Avenue between Irving Park Road and Forest Preserve Drive to traffic Friday morning.

They originally wanted to start in April. They stopped and brought in ground-penetrating radar and consulted an archeologist as there could be as many as 10,000 bodies buried under what is now Oak Pak Avenue in a six-acre cemetery on the grounds, including more than 2,000 babies buried here as well.

The area was once the grounds of a Cook County poorhouse and later an asylum for the mentally ill.

The road is being redone in conjunction with the new vets center at Oak Park Avenue and Forest Preserve Drive that will serve vets suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's.

The project is expected to take several months.

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7 comments

  • Lisa Greco

    terrible reporting. “Could be” used as bookends to a simple sentence. I can brush aside things such as spelling, or grammar context, but this ROBO-reporting irritates me.

  • Jack Steen

    This would have been a perfect place for WGN and Tribune Company to educate the Millennials that have NO IDEA what the term “DUNNING” means, or that one of the first County Hospitals was built on this property and took care of our cities’ first hard-working, often indigent immigrant citizens who fell gravely ill.

    Instead – a breezy, silly encapsulization written by a foreign-exchange student editor…because IT’S CHEAPER TO GO WITH SCAB HELP SINCE THE SHYSTER ZELL RUINED THE ONCE-PROUD TRIBUNE.