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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois • Page 313

Chicago Tribunei
Chicago, Illinois
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Dmmrairoveorfdea' 46'' Section'' cKfto trttH ,1 CyxV V1 A i IH -jO Wl V. ISA- i'v A A I I 1 -( I I I "WW I 1 v. 1 1 ,.081 ,,..1 I 1 BACKPACKS a KfAAAfli I IKIIFORMv KIDS CAMO OUTFITS Tribune photo by Gerald West Downers Grove Historical Society President Bob Arehart wants to improve the Main Street Cemetery where village founders are buried. Preserving the past Downers Grove Historical Society working to spruce up cemetery By Maria Kantzavelos HI ICCI RA.C 1 rrniLi A Special to the Tribune DOG, TAGS (RAIN GEAR BOO I b--KS SHIPS HATS 1 1 1 1 1 MILITIVVEPidiS AND.MpqllS II History sergeant toward the end of the Civil War, like a few other headstones at the graveyard, snapped from its base a few years ago, Arehart said. Still intact, the marker is being kept in storage with other fallen headstones.

Just a stone's throw from Blackburn's grave, closer to the popular local brewery that borders the cemetery to the south, the three headstones intended to mark the plot of one early Downers Grove family have deteriorated "down to their bare bones," Arehart said recently, pointing to the white stumps of stone sticking out from the plush grass. Almost as many of the stone grave markers and memorial monuments are in a state of disrepair as are in prime condition at the graveyard. And Arehart said the Historical Society wants to correct that Evidence of attempts by the village to mend broken markers is visible at some graves. But Arehart said improved techniques for such work have been developed in recent years. "To me this isn't just grass and rock," said Arehart, scanning the cemetery, which is said to be two-thirds of its original size.

me there is a-soul In the heart of Downers Grove's bustling downtown, local preservationists are laying the groundwork to make a historic graveyard come alive Members of the village's Historical Society have been on a mission to restore the Main Street Cemetery, which dates to the mid-1800s and is where nearly 100 of the village's founding families are buried. Evidence of why such a restoration is needed can be found throughout the cemetery. For example, the tablet headstone is missing from its base at one grave toward what is now considered the rear of the cemetery, which abuts Fishel Park. Bob Arehart, the Historical Society president, knows it is the grave of Israel Blackburn, a freed slave and Civil War veteran who raised his family in Downers Grove Blackburn, who is said to have run unsuccessfully for a village office in Downers Grove's early years and who died in 1902, was among the individuals who in 1873 signed a petition to have the village incorporated, according to Mark S. Harmon, supervisor of the Downers Grove Historical Museum.

The grave marker bearing Blackburn's name and the infantry in which he served as a first -i A 4 -4 i 4 it 0 "mm? vx va i 1 DOWNERS GROVE 630-969-1786 HRS: M-TH (10-6PM) (10-8PM) SAT(10-5PM) CLOSED SUNDAYS WE ACCEPT VISAMC AMEX. DISCOVER CHECKS.

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