Chicago Tribune

'It's a spooky, scary place': New Chicago school grounds being built on site of estimated 38,000 unmarked graves

CHICAGO - A 15-year effort to build a school in the Chicago's Dunning neighborhood is underway with an unusual complication: Construction workers are taking careful steps to avoid disturbing human remains that may lie beneath the soil.

The $70 million school is to be built on the grounds of a former Cook County Poor House where an estimated 38,000 people were buried in unmarked graves. Among the dead are residents who were too poor to afford funeral costs, unclaimed bodies and patients from the county's insane asylum.

"There can be and there have been bodies found all over the place," said Barry Fleig, a genealogist and cemetery researcher who began investigating the site in 1989. "It's a spooky, scary place."

Workers have until April 27 to excavate and clear the site, remediate the soil and relocate an existing sewer line. The school is scheduled to open in time for the 2019-20 academic year, though a

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune5 min read
Chicago 'Black Girl Skate Crew' Offers Skateboard Sisterhood For Women Of Color And Queer Community
CHICAGO - Tuesday nights at Chicago skate parks are long, but exhilarating for the members of froSkate. It's boisterously energetic, but in a mellow, "do you" kind of way. Hugs and smiles go around equally to newcomers and regulars about as often as
Chicago Tribune4 min read
Heidi Stevens: Black Chicago Families Get Rare Chance To Preserve Their Photos, Stories, Artifacts For Free. 'This History Is Important.'
Lauren Snowden Ingram arrived at the DuSable Museum of African American History on a recent Thursday morning carrying a box of irreplaceable treasure. A visitor's pass allowing Christine Wright Snowden (Lauren Snowden Ingram's mother) to tour the U.S
Chicago Tribune2 min read
Cubs Lose To Reds 4-2 Despite 13 Strikeouts By Yu Darvish, Falling Into A Tie For The 2nd NL Wild-card Spot
CHICAGO - Yu Darvish discovered he had no margin for error Tuesday well before he embarked on one of his record-setting strikeout performances. Darvish was tagged for three runs in the first inning, which offset his 13 strikeouts in a 4-2 loss to Son