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    3. : http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/Cemeteries_of_ORD.htm *CEMETERIES OF O'HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT* *INTRODUCTION:* As of the summer of 2002 there are two active cemeteries physically located within the "controlled" grounds of O'Hare Field, Chicago International Airport. These cemeteries known as *St. Johannes/St. Johns* and *Rest Haven *were established in 1837 and 1840 respectively and continue to this days to be the final resting place of more than a sixteen hundred souls. St. Johannes, the larger of the two is owned by *St. John's United Church of Christ* in Bensenville, and that church's Council and its supporters in the *St. Johannes Cemetery Alliance *are working hard to prevent the destruction of these sacred grounds. *Rest Haven*, the smaller of the two also has a dedicated group of individuals interested in maintaining that site as a cemetery. *ST. JOHANNES CEMETERY:* The *St. Johannes' (St. John's in English) United Church of Christ* was originally built in the* summer of 1849 <http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/ORDcollectiond00200.jpg>*and dedicated on October 7 of that year. The church's first pastor, the Reverend Wucherer directed the construction of the church's facilities, but sadly only lived a year and a half after its dedication before dying of a tubercular hemorrhage. Reverend Wucherer was succeeded by the Reverend Peter Moecklin a native of Switzerland, who guided the church through its formative years; helping it grow and prosper during and right after the Civil War. By the 1870's the congregation which was made up of mostly newly arrived German immigrants had outgrown the small meeting house built in 1849. In January 1873 , the members voted to build a new, much larger building and at the planning meetings which followed the vote, enthusiastically pledged their support to the construction project. The *new building was completed in the fall of 1873<http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/ORDcollectionp00104.jpg> * and the dedication celebration took place on November 9, 1873. For 75 years *St. Johannes Church and Cemetery *served the needs of its community and during that period the *Cemetery *<http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/ORDcollectionp00100.jpg>became the final resting place for many members of its congregation. Then in 1949, the City of Chicago acquired through purchase, the land surrounding the airport known as Douglas Field (also called Orchard Place) and renamed it O'Hare Field after World War II naval aviator Lieutenant Commander Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare. *St. Johannes Church and Cemetery* was located in the path of O'Hare's expansion and officials representing the City of Chicago wanted to demolish the existing church buildings and move forward with their plans to build the new international airport. The members of the St. Johannes congregation on the other hand were interested in preserving the main church building and began to explore alternatives to the Chicago demolition plan. In the end two options emerged: (1) they could sell the church and disperse the congregation to other facilities or (2)they could "physically" move the church building to another location and keep the congregation together. To assist the leadership in making this decision a survey was taken to find out how many people would remain members of the congregation even if the building was moved fifteen or twenty miles away. The overwhelming response was that they wanted to remain together and move the church building to a new site. "The City of Chicago was not interested in accommodating St. John's. But according to Ed Bergstrasser, the son of Rev. Bergstrasser, Pastor at St. John's from 1941-1960, after some discussion between his father, the Church Council and city officials in charge of the development of the airport, it was agreed that the city would buy the land and buildings for the sum of $200,000 and then sell back the church and other buildings for $1.00."1 In 1952 the 107 year old church was moved from its original site to make room for the O'Hare expansion, and relocated two miles west on a new five acre site just off Highway 83 in Addison Township. "For giving up the land to air field development the church was given $120,000. All of that money and an additional $35,000 went into the new site and the 'dressing up' of the church structures, the Rev. Mr. Bergstraesser explained."2 The relocation of the building did have some impact on church attendance as the active enrollment of 460 dropped to 400 by 1952, but many of the faithful were still willing to drive long distances to attend the church of their childhood. But while the move to a new site worked well for the church buildings *The Chicago* *Tribune* reported on October 11, 1974 that, *"the congregation couldn't move the five-acre cemetery ,<http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/Bensenville_map_collection001.jpg> * dedicated in 1849, that had adjoined the church. So now the cemetery is surrounded by O'Hare. It is still maintained by the church and several members of the congregation still owns plots there, said Rev. Gene Prostek, pastor of the church."3 In September 1976, George Estep of the *Chicago Tribune* wrote an article entitled "Jets whistling by graveyard" in which he noted that there are, "two graveyards tucked into the southwest corner of the airport. They have been there since the mid-19th century, serene through the rising clatter of evolution -- the racket of trains along the Chicago & North Western tracks, the hum of traffic on nearby Irving Park an Mount Prospect Roads, and now the roar and whine of jets. Why are the cemeteries here, inside the fence of the world's busiest airport, when the churches and the families have long since moved away, hustled out by airport expansion? Said John Carr, acting airport manager: 'It is a very costly thing to move cemeteries.' The legal complications of moving bodies are formidable. Maynard Marks, secretary of the Cemetery Association of Greater Chicago , agreed. If the state has to move one body to route a highway, it will reroute the highway."4 *For the complete text of George Estep's article in the Chicago Tribune click here.<http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/CEMcollectionn00040.jpg> * While Mr. Carr saw no threat to the O'Hare's cemeteries in 1976, by June 2001 plans for expanding O'Hare were causing Chicago area residents with relatives buried in the airport cemeteries to question whether their loved ones were to "be moved in the name of progress. Carol Stream resident Sandra Duncan wondered what would happen to the graves of her brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and great-grandparents. "It almost seems inevitable its going to get bigger and bigger, Duncan said Wednesday. If they come through with a runway, you're going to have no choice (but to move), unless you want to sit on the runway and put down flowers."5 For the complete text of Robert McCoppin's article in the Daily Herald click here for *page 1<http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/CEMcollectionn00050.jpg> * and here for *page 2<http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/CEMcollectionn00051.jpg> *. *REST HAVEN CEMETERY:* Rest Haven Cemetery<http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/CEMcollectionp00010.jpg>is located just north of Irving Park Road<http://ohare.bensenville.lib.il.us/images/Bensenville_map_collection001.jpg>on a dirt access road in the Village of Bensenville. It lies at the southwest corner of O'Hare Airport and is directly in the path of O'Hare's southern expansion. People with relatives buried in Rest Haven are also working to preserve the site, but little progress has been made so far. Rest Haven has very few above-ground monuments, giving the appearance that there are only a few people buried at this site; but according to records maintained at the Bensenville Community Public Library Rest Haven is the final "resting" place for approximately 110 people. *IMPACT OF O'HARE EXPANSION:*

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