Chicago, Illinois
Cook County Cemetery at Dunning

In the Dunning neighborhood on Chicago's northwest side, there was once a county poor house and mental hospital. Once they had entered, many of the inmates never left, and were eventually buried there.

This was a "Potter's Field", a place for the poor, indigent, and unknown. As with similar graveyards elsewhere, there were rarely any permanent individual markers - and no expectation of visitors.

Little remains of the hospital's graveyard now. There are only a handful of fragments of headstones, now affixed to concrete frames.

The cemetery was forgotten for many years until home construction in the 1990s unearthed hundreds of bones. A retired Presbyterian minister, Rev. William Brauer, led efforts to memorialize the site and in 2001 Read-Dunning Memorial Park was dedicated. The site has been preserved as a wide open area, with concrete disks set into the ground to commemorate the various groups of people buried here.


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Entrance Arch


Central Memorial

old dedication stone

memorial disks

Unknown Poor

Cook County Poor House

Orphaned Children


Hier Ruhet...

Sick and Infirm

Insane Asylum

Civil War Veterans

Chicago Fire Victims

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copyright 1996-2005 Matt Hucke. All right reserved.