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Bill Woodier

© 2010 Bill Woodier

Story sent in via email November 9, 2010 - In response to the original fence that surrounded the cemetery and the original bridge that crossed over Tinley Creek near the southwest corner of the cemetery.

I do remember the fence. I can still picture that day in my mind....funny how some things stick with you. It was the first time I was ever there and we went by school bus from the Orchard Hill Kindergarten. The access road was still open then and the bus drove right down to the cemetery.

I remember a sort of parking lot at the end of the road but it might just have been where the old road ended and the bus parked there. The wrought iron fence was actually across the front of the cemetery. Some sections were broken or rusted out of the bases but it was still basically still standing. The fence on the sides and back (toward the pond) was more of a farm wire type fence (about 4' high, if I remember correctly) and there was a couple holes in it, at least one I remember distinctly in the back fence near the pond.

The fence I was originally thinking was wrought iron could have been something less substantial (but still metal) as I think of it more. I remember leaning against it to eat my lunch and it was sturdy enough that it didn't move. I remember it running parallel to the front entrance of there cemetery and near where the old road was. It was across a grassy strip of grass that looked like a lawn of sorts from the front entrance of the cemetery. I can't remember exactly how wide this grassy area was but my 55 year old memory tells me it was about 20-30 feet wide (between the two fences). Running sort of east-west it ran from almost the western edge of the cemetery to a point well past the entrance gate....maybe 60-70 feet (or more??). The first time I saw the tall chain link fence was when we took our kids back to Chicago to take care of my mother's estate in 1996. When I get a chance I will try to draw a rough sketch of what I remember.

As far as the lovers lane in the mid 1960s goes....getting in there was rather hit or miss. The access road was starting to get overgrown a bit on the edges and the brush alongside the road was really thick. There were two sections of what looked like a railroad tie imbedded in the ground on each side of the entrance to the road from the Midlothian Turnpike. Sometimes there was a cable or chain stretched across the opening, secured to the ties with large eye bolts and a lock. Just as often as not, though, one could find the cable lying on the ground instead of being locked across the entrance. I remember that there wasn't a lot of room to park there and only 3-5 cars could get in there on the sides of the road back by the cemetery. Sometimes when you went in there, you'd have to back on out on the road and go somewhere else because there was no room to park. It was pretty desolate back there, particularly at night, and dead silent except for the occasional car that went by on the Turnpike...a 2-lane almost country road with no street lights of any sort.

I remember the bridge you mention but as I remember it had dirt piled on it and it was very overgrown. As I remember (again, 45-55 years old memory) that bridge was made of brick sides and had at least one, maybe two, arches across the creek. I seem to remember the top of the sidewall of the bridge had a substantial (like 6-12" square) stone or concrete cap on it. It was quite overgrown with bushes and vines. I remember during a Boy Scout bicycle hike along the Midlothian Turnpike (143rd st) we stopped at the cemetery and explored the bridge. It was really creepy as the other end (west end) of the bridge was so overgrown that it was hardly visible and you couldn't even walk up that side of the creek bank.

Plat of Survey map from 1975 just before the new fence was installed in 1976. Map added to Archives in 2011.