WAUCONDA TOWNSHIP, Ill. — A township northwest of Chicago is proceeding with a plan to upgrade a small, hidden cemetery in the middle of a cornfield.
Wauconda Township is planning in the spring to build a split-rail fence around Hope Grove Cemetery and install a brass sign of recognition, the Daily Herald reported.
The cemetery became an island after the Lake County Forest Preserve District purchased the property surrounding the area several years ago to create the Kettle Grove Forest Preserve.
“All these years, they kept this chunk natural as it is and farmed around it,” said Glenn Swanson, township supervisor. “This is just an old cemetery in the middle of a cornfield the township plans to restore.”
The district approved in November a temporary license agreement to secure access to work on the single township-owned acre where the cemetery sits. Restoration crews have been waiting until the ground freezes to clear the cemetery site. Most of what’s there is scrub with the exception of some oak and cherry trees, said Rebecca Hegner, planning and land use administrator.
“It will look very different,” she said.
Hegner said some headstones will be temporarily taken off-site while work is done, but the exact locations have been recorded and will be returned to the same spot. The goal is to minimize impact on the cemetery, she said.
Inscriptions on the headstones originally were noted in1962 and rechecked in 1981 when only three were readable, according to information from the township. One of the headstones lists George Dart as being more than 84 years old when he died in July 1858.
Swanson is continuing to search for answers and created a Facebook page to share information.
Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com