Friends of Bohemian National Cemetery

Friends of Bohemian National Cemetery Friends of Bohemian National Cemetery was founded in 2004 to promote the historical significance, enhance the beauty and preserve the artistic heritage of Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.
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Friends of Bohemian National Cemetery is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2004. Our mission is to promote the historical significance, enhance the beauty and preserve the artistic heritage of Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. We raise funds for the restoration and preservation of the Cemetery. We also hold regular meetings with educational programs, conduct walking tours of the Cemetery, and publish a quarterly newsletter, Heritage Happenings.

Mission: To promote the historical significance, enhance the beauty and preserve the artistic heritage of Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
05/08/2020

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

My friend Wally Lang was able to visit Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago this week, and took this photo of the double tree I carved last year.
The crack through the wifes's name symbolizes her broken heart; the radio and Cubs hat represent how the husband, who was blind, loved to attend Cubs baseball games and sit in the stands listening to the play-by-play on his transistor radio. He played violin, and they loved books (and knew many languages) and picnicing.

04/02/2020
How to Significantly Slow Coronavirus? #Masks4All

A Public Service Announcement from the Czech Republic

A KEY ARGUMENT FOR USING HOMEMADE MASKS: Homemade masks are partly effective in individual protection, but they are essential for slowing the spread of the v...

Chuck Michalek is a volunteer with Friends of BNC and heads up our Columbarium Restoration Project. https://www.radio.cz...
11/22/2019
Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago tells the tale of Czech immigrants who helped build the city | Radio Prague International

Chuck Michalek is a volunteer with Friends of BNC and heads up our Columbarium Restoration Project.
https://www.radio.cz/en/section/panorama/bohemian-national-cemetery-in-chicago-tells-the-tale-of-czech-immigrants-who-helped-build-the-city

There are many places in US where you will find Bohemian cemeteries, established wherever Czechs settled in the country. The Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago was formed in 1877 and, with its 120 acres it is one of the largest. Chuck Michalek, Bohemian National Cemetery Association board member....

Stories in the stone!
11/04/2019

Stories in the stone!

I've been asked about the titles on the book, on this treestump tombstone that I carved. The couple met when they were both studying linguistics at the Univ. of Illinois, and the titles reflect the languages they knew. In addition, his job included computer programming (hence the Cobol book) and she has a love of cooking (the Recipes book). This was installed in September at Bohemian National Cemtery in Chicago.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
11/04/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

My friend Mike Smith, a superb photographer who leads Afterlife Tours, Inc. just visited Bohemian National Cemetery, and took this autumnal photo of my double treestump tombstone. Don't you think it has settled into its permanent home very nicely?

Tune in to CBS Sunday Morning tomorrow to see more worm by Walter S. Arnold, who carved the double treestone recently in...
10/26/2019

Tune in to CBS Sunday Morning tomorrow to see more worm by Walter S. Arnold, who carved the double treestone recently installed at Bohemian National Cemetery.

This Sunday morning Oct. 27, CBS Sunday Morning has scheduled a special Halloween segment on gargoyles. They will be featuring my work, that of JHCarpenter Studios and the Washington National Cathedral , where I carved this one,the Crooked Politician, from Jay's model. Hope you'll tune in and watch us!

Some interesting information about some treestones (but remember, not all treestones denote Woodmen of the World members...
10/19/2019

Some interesting information about some treestones (but remember, not all treestones denote Woodmen of the World membership).

On our recent visit to Charleston, SC, I spotted this tombstone at Bethany Cemetery. It's a pretty standard Woodman of the World (WoW) tree, from about 1902. WoW (now called WoodmenLife) is a non profit fraternal benefit society, They provide insurance benefits to members, and from about 1890 to 1920 this included paying for a treestump tombstone. This greatly helped popularize this type of memorial. They had a number of standard designs which they would send to local stone shops, but each carver could customize and individualize the memorial. It's been about 100 years since Woodmen provided treestump tombstones, but you can still find these in old cemeteries throughout the United States.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
09/27/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

The finished monument, installed in Chicago's Bohemian National Cemetery. I hope you'll visit it some day; if you do, please share your photos.

Many of us have ancestors who lived in Pilsen.
09/19/2019
Chicago’s Pilsen makes top 10 list of world’s coolest neighborhoods

Many of us have ancestors who lived in Pilsen.

CHICAGO — Looking for somewhere new to explore? Chicagoans may not have to go very far. In TimeOut's list of the 50 coolest neighborhoods in the world, Pilsen was in the top 10! With its thriving street art community and up-and-coming gallery scene, the neighborhood has become a major art hub in C...

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
09/17/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

A cat on a branch, carved on the double tree stump tombstone that I just completed. It is now installed at Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago. I hope you will visit it.

Don't miss the mention of Bohemian National Cemetery!
09/13/2019
When Americans Dined (and Dated) in Cemeteries

Don't miss the mention of Bohemian National Cemetery!

St. Luke’s 1957 Pilgrimage Service. ©Historic Saint Luke's Church / Historic Saint. Luke's Church When it comes to green spaces, we're a bit spoilt in New York City. There are over 1,700 parks (even if it doesn't always feel that way) for our picnics, parties, and general frolicking to unfold.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
09/11/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

Crated and ready to go. It may not look it in the photo, but this crate is quite robust and secure. Lateral cross bracing keeps the tree from moving in any direction, and will hold the 4x4 framing from any compression when strapped to the truck or lifted with slings. The crane truck will set it right on the foundation, then we'll remove the bottom 2x4's and lower it so it's just 2" above the foundation. Then we'll remove all the framing, and gently lower it the last 2 inches.

Be sure to read Walter's comments on the photos - he explains how weather and settling have affected some of the treesto...
09/10/2019

Be sure to read Walter's comments on the photos - he explains how weather and settling have affected some of the treestones..

Covering 126 acres, Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago is home to a virtual forest of tree stump tombstones. Hundreds of beautiful examples grace the grounds of this beautiful place.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
09/08/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

The double tree is almost done; I just need to finish the inscriptions, and it will be ready for installation.

It's happening!
09/06/2019

It's happening!

The foundation for my double tree stump tombstone was poured this week. Its at Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, about 50 feet north of the Cubs Fan Columbarium.
The PVC pipe sticking up is a place holder and will be cut off. It creates a hole for a large stainless rod that will extend into the base of the limestone monument. It's simpler to put in the pipe while pouring the concrete, instead of drilling a hole after the concrete hardens. The foundation is four feet deep (1.2 meters), extending well below the frost line to ensure it will be stable for hundreds of years.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
09/03/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

If a monk who dwells among the books is a scribe, what do you call a chip-munk who dwells among the books?

08/28/2019
Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

The picnic basket on my limestone double treestump tombstone. Work is nearing completion.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
08/28/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

I've been refining the teapot. The wife being memorialized with this limestone tombstone collects china teapots. The picnic basket recalls their outings to attend concerts at Ravinia Park, north of Chicago. Ravinia has hosted music festivals for over 100 years.

08/23/2019
Carving the basket

Carving the basket

Carving a picnic basket on a large limestone double treestump tombstone.

08/23/2019

Join us this Sunday, August 25, at 1:30 pm at the cemetery office building to learn about the origins of our beautiful "garden cemetery"and the work of Friends of BNC to help preserve it.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
08/22/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

Weaving the picnic basket. This limestone treestump tombstone is nearing completion.

5 Photos You Should Take at the Cemetery
08/21/2019
5 Photos You Should Take at the Cemetery

5 Photos You Should Take at the Cemetery

Cemetery photos are great in genealogy, but only if you get the right ones. Here are 5 photos you should take every time you go to the cemetery.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
08/09/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

It's slowly coming together- I've finished the violin. I don't like the sandwich in the picnic basket, maybe I'll turn it into an apple. ??

This double treestone is a sculpted biography!
08/07/2019

This double treestone is a sculpted biography!

I'm trying to finish the books and violin on this limestone double treestump tombstone. The couple were linguists, and I'll inscribe book titles indicating the languages in which they were proficient. To the right is the picnic basket, that still needs work...

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
08/04/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

The gentleman whom I am memorializing with this treestump tombstone was blind, and so I've carved his white cane leaning against the back of the tree. You may recall the baseball cap and radio from earlier photos, carved on the front of this tree. A lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs, he would take the train to Wrigley Field and sit in the bleachers listening to the game on his radio, soaking in the spirit and atmosphere.

I hope the person who commissioned this beautiful double treestone is leaving a detailed explanation of the personal mea...
08/02/2019

I hope the person who commissioned this beautiful double treestone is leaving a detailed explanation of the personal meanings for all the elements see asked the sculptor Walter Arnold to include.

I'm carving the elements near the base on this treestump tombstone: violin, books, picnic basket, rocks. Sitting on the floor was getting hard on my knees and back, so I wanted to raise it a bit. The stone, which stated at about 10,000 lbs, is probably now around 3400 lbs (1.5 metric tons). Still too heavy for my fork lift, but with my pallet jack I was able to raise it 6" and get railroad ties under the skid. That should make the work a bit easier...

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor
08/01/2019

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor

Crow on a branch, on the treestump tombstone that I'm carving. I kept the crow's beak short and thick, and did't make it too delicate, so that the limestone will hold up over many decades.

Eastland Disaster Historical Society
07/28/2019

Eastland Disaster Historical Society

July 24th marks the 104th anniversary of the Eastland tragedy. There is a memorial to the Eastland at Bohemian National ...
07/24/2019

July 24th marks the 104th anniversary of the Eastland tragedy. There is a memorial to the Eastland at Bohemian National Cemetery.

Address

5255 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL
60630

General information

Contact address: Friends of BNC P.O. Box 72746 Roselle, IL 60172-0746

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Comments

I wanted to take a few moments to express my thoughts about my visit to the cemetery Friday. I am so grateful to the group for having found the burial plot information for me prior to my driving in from Detroit. I expected my g.grandfather's first daughter not to have a grave marker (I wasn't quite prepared to find out that she was buried in a "rental grave"), but I hadn't prepared myself to see that his wife and second daughter did not have a marker at their grave. I am hoping to look into options to mark their resting place in the future. I visit cemeteries regularly, and I can say that I have never been to a cemetery quite like Bohemian National Cemetery before. From the moment I entered the cemetery, I was in awe of the many beautiful and unique monuments. Further, I was impressed and happy to see how well the buildings and grounds have been kept up considering their age. Some of the older cemeteries I’ve visited have made me feel sick, especially the mausoleum my g.grandmother is interred here, in Detroit. I enjoyed looking at the photos and trinkets enclosed in all of the niches. I’ve never seen such lovely displays. The cemetery truly is a beautiful resting place for so many. Much gratitude to all who contribute to the upkeep of the grounds, restoration efforts, and the preservation of history.
when was the east fence line moved closer to the college?
It is very upsetting to see this and no regard for our loved ones who have passed away. Why is this happening and why aren't you doing anything about it? https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=572994843547066
Hello! I just recently learned that my Grandmother is buried in your lovely cemetery. I was wondering if there is any way I could obtain a picture of her headstone/marker. Here is her information: buried under the name “Barbara Daley". If you need any further information to assist me in my quest please contact me via FB messenger or by email. [email protected]
Thank you so very much for all your help Carol. Being able to see my Oma's headstone again, made me have happy tears. You are so wonderful to check things out for me.
By closing the doors.
We have been tending grave(s) since 1935 at this truly historic gem. Is anyone else distressed by the lack of needed ground/road crew to maintain Bohemian National Cemetery? This does not appear to be on anyone's radar nor am I aware of any strategic endowment planning or fundraising for keeping the grave areas free from fallen limbs, dead trees and in general garbage pick up. I and our family in the past years have gladly cleaned, pruned, planted and kept our plots and the surrounding grave areas clean of debris. Visiting yesterday the condition of many of the interior roads are a hazard to drive. I would be concerned if I were on the Board about liability due to unsafe conditions. Interesting that while these glaring omissions are noticeable ESPECIALLY when visiting other cemeteries where the grounds are maintained including fencing, we see a CUBS wall, fountain and planting at entrance and other details that are not in the best interest of those who have had generations buried here not to mention those incoming families.... Thank you.
Just saw the banner for the tombstone tours! I'd have gone this month if I had seen on FB sooner!
Hoping you can help me with a question. Many of my ancestors are at BNC, including 8 family members in a mausoleum. It was put up around 1926. We were there yesterday doing our annual pilgrimage and cleaning. Can anyone tell me what material was used to build the mausoleums? Thanks for any help!
About 10 years ago, I visited with my mother to get information about my great grandfather, Vaclav Vana. There was some old newspaper articles about the cemetery in the lobby. Mom told me he was important to the cemetery - on the board or something, especially around the time of Anton Cermak's death. Is there anyplace I can look for more information or get a copy of the newspaper articles?
Part of our current Traditional Bohemian Folk Dolls collection, minus 3 that were borrowed to be cleaned up & not returned.... Looking to add to this collection in a big way, Help Out if you can, Thanx , Rob
Open request to Friends of the Cemetery , Im lookin for Traditional BOHEMIAN Dolls to further the collection at the Cemetery ,im not buying ,im lookin for donated pieces ,im sure some of you ladies out there have some SOMEWHERE , Donate them for Historic purposes ,the Bohemian Culture doesnt have many Historical places left these days ,we must Maintain & Keep the Bohemian Spirit alive , GIVE ME A HAND < PLEASE , Rob Charlemagne, BNC Caretaker