Why preserve or protect cemeteries? They are memorials to the past that offer a unique view of our history, culture, and way of life. Their existence adds much to our understanding of the history of Illinois and its people. Here you will find information on cemetery laws, preservation of headstones and cemeteries, what to do if you discover human remains, educational publications, application for a permit to do work at a cemetery, web resources and much more. Use the links at the right to explore.
View the Cemetery Preservation Fact Sheet.
Highlighting Cemetery Preservation Projects…
Girl Scout completes Gold Star Project
Cheyenne Chalkus, an Ambassador Scout from Troop 8587, recently completed her Gold Star project for Girl Scouts. This award is the highest rank a girl can achieve in Scouting. For her project, Cheyenne preserved the Dickens Cemetery (also called Clapp Cemetery) located adjacent to the Salem Reservoir, north of Salem in Marion County. Burials made in the Dickens Cemetery range from 1854 to 1886 and include members of five families. Cheyenne conducted the preservation work under the auspices of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the City of Salem.
Cheyenne cleared vegetation from the cemetery and identified eight grave markers and bases. She also probed for and exposed additional buried markers. Decades worth of dirt, mold, and lichens were cleaned from the stones. In addition to the hands-on preservation work, Cheyenne researched the families buried there and identified three veterans. The project took 6 months to complete with a total of 88 volunteer hours. The final part of her Gold Award project was a cemetery walk for members of the community to visit and to hear about the project. Cheyenne plans to continue her preservation efforts by repairing several broken grave markers there.