CHICAGO (CBS) — Historians have raised questions about a road reconstruction project in the Dunning neighborhood, because they believe there’s a good chance crews will find hundreds of caskets from when the area was a cemetery.
It’s believed that when Oak Park Avenue was constructed between Irving Park Road and Forest Preserve Drive in the 1930s, workers didn’t dig very deep.
Nowadays, they do dig deep, and cemetery historian Barry Fleig said crews working on rebuilding Oak Park Avenue are likely to find remains.
“The problem is these are not just bones. These are actual caskets with people in them,” he said.
Fleig said many of the 10,000 buried in that cemetery from 1890 to about 1912 were indigent.
“If these people were forgotten in life, they shouldn’t be forgotten again,” he said
Fleig believes about 2,000 people might have been buried under what’s now Oak Park Avenue.
He wants to know what the city plans to do with the bodies that are almost surely buried under Oak Park Avenue.
“Politicians tend to find these things in the way, and they would like them to go away, but they don’t. They just don’t go away,” Fleig said.
WBBM has asked the Chicago Department of Transportation for comment.