Bony discovery under Gold Coast homes reveals fascinating histor - New York News

Bony discovery under Gold Coast homes reveals fascinating history

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Whenever human remains are found, it usually makes the news. But, when it happens on Chicago's North Side, that's another story.

Just this week, a construction worker dug up some human bones and if you talk to some residents in the area, they will tell you of neighbors who've done the same.

It's believed there are thousands of bodies buried beneath Lincoln Park and other parts of the city. The history of these century-old graves were not officially documented, but a few years ago, a researcher with Northwestern University started digging for answers.

Some residents, like Susan Hadley, find it fascinating.

"They say there is a lot of ghosts around the neighborhood because of the cemetery," Hadley says.

That's right. A part of the Gold Coast was built on top of a catholic cemetery from the mid 1800's. Human bones are regularly unearthed by construction workers. In fact, it happened this week.

"We havent dug in our backyard, but we do know people who have," Hadley continues. "When they've done renovations and dug down into the soil, they've actually found bones."

"It was absolutely a lost history, because for whatever reason, it wasn't recorded," researcher Pamela Bannos explains. "There were no books about it, so what I did was I went back and found all these original materials and I sort of untangled the story."

Pamela Bannos has been researching the history of cemeteries beneath the city's North Side for six years. She says there were initially four cemeteries, including a Jewish cemetery and Potter's Field, where the city's poorest residents were buried stretching from Lincoln Park South to the Gold Coast. As the city grew, the land turned into residential space.

"I believe they have left behind 10,000 to 12,000 graves from Wisconsin Street in Lincoln Park heading all the way dwon to Schiller Street which includes the Catholic cemetery," says Bannos.

Roberta Bacik just happened to be marveling at a neighbor's Halloween graveyard display near North Dearborn and Schiller when we met her.

She's not the only one who has always believed her neighborhood is haunted.

"All of a sudden our dishwasher will turn on and I was thinking it was a friendly ghost who was helping a busy mom," Schiller said of the discovery.

So what prompted Bannos to begin her research? There's a family tomb from 1858 in Lincoln Park right off of Lake Shore Drive that Bannos had noticed for years and recently she began to question where that tomb came from, which led her to uncover all the other cemeteries in the area.

Under a state law, the unearthed human remains become property of the state.

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