Bohemian National Cemetery, on Chicago's North side at Foster and Pulaski avenues, contains one of the city's finest collections of funerary art. It features a spectacular chapel and columbarium building, as well as many larger-than-life sculptures. Nowhere else have I seen a greater number of statues of soldiers, many having fought and died in World War I and the Spanish-American War.
Another extraordinary feature of Bohemian National Cemetery is the plantings over certain graves. Rectangular and crescent designs are common, with flowers of different colors carefully placed.
Bohemia is a region in what is now the Czech Republic, formerly part of Czechoslovakia. The great majority of persons buried here are of Czech descent, though the cemetery will now accept burials of any nationality. Chicago's most prominent Bohemian citizen, Mayor Anton Cermak, is entombed here.
The cemetery had its first burial on August 6th, 1877, a baby named N. Brada. Originally inside the gate, the child has been moved to a safer location deeper within the cemetery.
A different veteran is honored each day at the flagpole near the main entrance. Each day, a different U.S. flag is flown, and a card naming a World War I or World War II veteran is placed on the flagpole's base. The octagonal base is of flagstone, with each of its eight panels depicting a scene or fact about the World Wars.
© 1997 Matt Hucke
All content (text and photographs) by Matt Hucke, unless otherwise indicated.