ST. LUKE’S CEMETERY
5300 N. Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL. 60630
BellaMorte Rating: 1 Tombstone
While nearly every cemetery we have ever visited craves additional acreage and jealously guards unused land for future development, Saint Luke’s owns the dubious distinction of actually divesting itself of property.
The 1992 sale of 7.5 acres for the development of retail stores, followed by the 1995 sale of an additional 14 acres for the construction of private homes and a condominium complex which now overlooks the cemetery, have reduced Saint Luke’s from 65 acres to 40.
In fairness, it must be stated that, when established, a number of Lutheran churches belonged to an association that shared in the oversight and financial support of the property. With the dissolution of congregations over the years, however, that original association has now dwindled to the support of only one: Saint Luke’s in Lakeview, Illinois.
The cemetery, known as Saint Lucas from its founding in 1900, was renamed Saint Luke’s in 1998 when, as mentioned, the congregation of the same name became its sole supporter. Section markers throughout the cemetery, however, still bear the Saint Lucas name.
The older section of the graveyard contains memorials and monuments of various sizes while the new section has succumbed to the dreaded memorial park design with flush markers huddled around the occasional central monument in sections with inane names such as “Circle of Hymns.” With due respect to differences in taste, in our opinion, even the central monuments suffer from a severe lack of consideration for aesthetics.
The only memorial we found worth noting on the grounds is, of course, located in the older section. It is that of 10-year-old Edna Miriam Paul (23 August, 1897 – 2 May, 1907). Her monument features the poignant inscription “Many hopes are buried here.” The granite base holds a ceramic portrait of Edna prettily posed in a white dress. The photograph was used as a model for the life-size carved replica of the child that crowns her gravesite.
Elsewhere, the grounds contain a parcel of unconsecrated land set aside as a pet cemetery. Not surprisingly, the section bears the name “The Garden of Saint Francis” and is marked by a statue of the Franciscan luminary. The “garden” itself includes burial plots as well as walking trails.
The 1999 renovation of the administration building included the addition of a chapel with a 132-niche columbarium that, though pleasant enough, reminds us of a family living room more than a columbarium.
If in the area and short on time, you may safely skip a visit to Saint Luke’s in order to more constructively devote your attention to neighbouring Montrose and, most especially, Bohemian National.