Old Union/Holy Cross Cemetery

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Cobblestone Ave and Broadwell Dr.

Lincoln, IL 62656

The Old Union Cemetery and Holy Cross Cemeteries hold a great deal of history with the earliest graves dating back to the late 1830s/ early 1840s. 

Old Union Cemetery is shaded by large White Oak trees that are around 200-300 years old. Notable author, William Maxwell,  grew up in Lincoln and wrote about Union Cemetery:  "Situated in a grove of oak trees on a bluff looking out over the rich farmland--a serene and timeless frame for lives concluded and beyond grieving over" (Ancestors 1971, p. 208). Some notable graves and buildings to see are:

 

  • The Chapel, built in 1912, continues to be used as a chapel sometimes but is now mainly the records office for Union Cemetery.
  • Samuel Evans and Family- The oldest section of Union Cemetery-a pioneer who owned the land for Union Cemetery and later donated it for what is today Union Cemetery.
  • William Maxwell's mother and grandparents
  • Members of the Niebuhr Family, Hulda Niebuhr and her parents (Gustav and Lydia)
  • Civil War Memorial and section where Union Civil War Veterans are buried
  • Aaron Dyer (1816-1900)- An escaped slave from Virginia, he was a Springfield conductor on the Underground Railroad.
  • William "Billie" Dyer, grandson of Aaron Dyer, one of the first African American Physicians in the country and the first African American drafted in Lincoln during WWI. Also a central character in William Maxwell's Billie Dyer and Other Stories, published in 1992. 
  • Robert Latham - was one of three land speculators who founded Lincoln, in 1853 and friend to Abraham Lincoln
  • Scully Family
  • Old Street Car Depot- "At the cemetery, the streetcar stopped at a depot with a red-tile roof and open walls. After the discontinuation of the streetcar, at some point, the sides of the depot were bricked in when the cemetery association began using this building for storage." (From http://findinglincolnillinois.com/OldUnionCemeterytext-2.pdf)
  • Buried in Holy Cross Cemetery is the most celebrated figures of the Prohibition era in Logan County, John Schwenoha, a.k.a-"Coonhound Johnny". He owned and operated a Roadhouse Tavern on Route 66, just north of Lincoln. Johnny was a long-time breeder of high-quality hunting 'coon' dogs, which is where he acquired the nickname "Coonhound Johnny". He often did business with Al Capone and sometimes brought him to Lincoln to hunt. His son Vincent Schwenoha went on to build and begin running the historic Tropics Restaurant in Lincoln.

    More information on "Coonhound Johnny" HERE 

 

See a Walking Tour  HERE  additional information on the Cemeteries HERE

 

Also, an old stretch of the original Route 4 (Old Route 66) still exists on Cobblestone Ave. Part of it can is only accessible via foot. At the dead end road, in the forest, there is an old bridge from the original Route 66 that is often referred to as Ghost Bridge today. 

 

Diagrammatic Map of Lincoln Memorial Park, Cemeteries, & and Nearby Sites (From http://findinglincolnillinois.com/lincolnmemparkandcem.html)

 

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101 North Chicago Street
Lincoln, IL 62656

 
 
Normal Hours
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Mon.-Fri.
June-August
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sat. also
January-March
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Mon.-Fri.
 

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