We talk quite a lot about the Couch Tomb here – the mausoleum that was never moved from City Cemetery after it became Lincoln Park. No one is entirely sure why it wasn’t moved (probably money, though there are rumors of a lawsuit) or who all is in it, if anyone. But we’re always finding new info. We’ve got “tomb snooper” photos of what’s behind the door (another door), and did a podcast recently chatting with Mr. Couch’s third great grand-daughter.
We also uncovered a 1911 article in the Examiner about a day when a locksmith received a prank order to open the tomb. At the time, a city employee claimed to have been inside of it some time around 1901 and seen nothing. At the same time, though, Couch’s grandson said there were about eight bodies in there, including two of his brothers.
Now a Daily News article from the same day – May 5, 1911, has been found. In it, the city employee goes into a bit more detail:
John Lindroth, a civil engineer in the employe of the Lincoln Park board for the past thirty-five years, said to-day that thee were no bodies in the Couch tomb, as they have been moved thirty years ago.
|The tomb, with Mr. Lindroth on the left. This was published in the
Daily News but doesn’t seem to be available in better quality
in their online archive.
“Ten years ago I was in the tomb,” he said. “We were laying out a road and it was necessary to open it. At that time there were no bodies there. They were probably moved, with other bodies in what was then a cemetery, to the lot east of where the band stand now stands, after the Chicago fire. At that time there were three cemeteries in what is now the park – the Catholic, Jewish and the Lutheran Episcopal.”
So, this gives us a little bit more info than we previous had about when he went into the tomb and why, and remains perhaps our best eyewitness account. However, Ira J. Couch, denied that the bodies had been moved (and was in a position to know).
“The last one to take an interest in that tomb was my grandmother, who is buried in Rose Hilll,” said Mr. Couch. “She died in 1899. So far as I know her husband, my grandfather, and his father and mother and two of my brothers are still buried in the tomb. There are four others from what I have heard, but I do no know who they were. It is absurd for any one to say that the bodies were removed after the Chicago fire or at any other time. No one had the right to do any such thing.“