The following excerpt is from a December 25, 2012 AP story published in the Chicago Tribune.
Imagine strolling through a wooded acreage once called home by early 20th century occupants of a poor farm and patients of a tuberculosis infirmary.
… just 25 miles from Chicago.
That’s the plan for the Oak Forest Heritage Preserve, more than 170 acres of rolling forest and wetlands in Chicago’s south suburbs….
The site served as working farm, an infirmary and, from 1910 until 1971, the burial ground for Cook County’s indigents. Planners envision an interpretive museum, trails through fields of native plants and a community garden where the county poor farm once operated.
In the first $1 million phase of the Cook County Forest Preserve project, a 1.5-mile loop trail will guide visitors through the preserve’s main sites, with signs recounting land’s long-forgotten stories.
Someday, if funding can be secured, visitors interested in genealogy may be able to search through records of the more than 90,000 people who were buried in the cemetery, perhaps finding traces of an ancestor’s story. Handwritten volumes still exist that recorded the deceased’s name, country of origin, cause of death and occupation. Those records eventually could be used to create a searchable database at a visitors’ center.