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10,000th grave a milestone of history for Dundee Township

The Dundee Township Cemetery East Routes 72 25 was started 1890. A new sectifor burials will be created solpurchased about

The Dundee Township Cemetery East at Routes 72 and 25 was started in 1890. A new section for burials will be created soon on land purchased about 20 years ago. | Erin Sauder for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 19, 2014 6:17AM

Dundee Township has a milestone to celebrate, although elected officials readily admit it’s kind of an odd one.

The township is responsible for the operation of both Dundee Township Cemetery East, at the corner of Routes 72 and 25, and Dundee Township Cemetery West on Route 31.

Recently, the 10,000th grave was filled in the township, and a new burial section will need to be opened, said Dundee Township Supervisor Sue Harney.

“We never know how to celebrate,” she said. “People have very different attitudes toward death. And for us it’s a collision of our excitement for having this elaborate process we’re really proud of versus that most people’s dealings with cemeteries are a time of grief. And it’s a slice of our history. We have people who fought in the Civil War that are buried in the West Cemetery.”

Dundee Township Cemetery West was started in 1860 and has more than 8,000 burials.

The Dundee Township Cemetery East was started in 1890.

The new section for burials will be created in Dundee Township Cemetery East on some land purchased about 20 years ago. The parcel is about 30 acres, but only a few acres will be sectioned out at a time.

“We have a master plan for the cemetery that’s been laid out and then each section is roughly in order of 2,000 graves,” said Robert Block, secretary of the Dundee Township Cemetery.

He said the newest section most likely will open April 1, and include a columbaria.

“Basically, the trend in the last five years or so has been people choosing cremation more often than they are choosing a full-size burial, and the columbaria is an above-ground mausoleum, if you will, for the ashes,” Block said.

There will be about 100 spaces in the columbaria, and each space can accommodate up to two urns or two sets of ashes, and be affixed with engraved markers. There also will be in-ground graves available for the burial of ashes.

“It’s an unusual thing to talk about,” Block said of Dundee Township’s milestone. “But it really is a big piece of history.”

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