(formerly known as the Lincoln Park Palace)
In 1892 Bjoerne Edwards, publisher of the trade paper, American Contractor at 108 Randolph Street began construction on a life-long dream of building the finest apartment house in the world although the cornerstone wasn't laid until July 14, 1894. It was to be named the Lincoln Park Palace and was designed by architect Enock Hill Turnock. His neigbors in the upscale area were not thrilled about him building a large apartment building on the northwest corner of Diversey and Park (Park is now Pine Grove Avenue) and were vocal about their opposition. Some neighbors said that Edward was acting in a "queer way" ever since the building started and said that it was obvious evidence of a "disturbed mind".
On July 31, 1895, Edward's wife, Mary C.C. Edwards, was away in Oshkosh, Wisconsin tending to the funeral of her mother. Mr. Edwards was on the roof of the unfinished building directing workman regarding some fireproofing issue. As he approached the ladder to descend he stepped on a poorly secured scaffolding board and fell eight stories through the courtyard to the lobby below. He was picked up unconscious and taken to Alexian Brother's Hospital where he died two hours later.
Just three months earlier, Edwards had secured a loan of $70,000 to complete construction of the building and at the time of his death there was enough left to ensure that the building would be completed.Ewards had actually leased a quarry in Jasper, Minnesota where all of the stone used in the construction was unearthed. The building is made up almost entirely of pink jasper and both entrances are made of beautiful polished jasper granite. The interior courtyard construction is of iron and prismatic lights and the interior wood finishing was originally of Mahogany, oak and red birch. Actually the east entrance on Pine Grove was known as "the ladies entrance". It was amazingly modern at the time of its construction with both gas and electric lights and telephones in all of the rooms that connected each to the office. The ground floor had office, restaurant, drug store, physician, and messenger space. The room that opens to the rotunda was actually first used as a ladies' waiting room and a sitting room for gentlemen.
Mr. Edwards was from Norway and came to America as a boy. He worked on a farm in Wisconsin as a youth and afterward came to Chicago to do manual labor until he had enough money to go to school. He attended the theological seminaries of the Lutheran Church in Iowa and Illinois.
Following Edwards' death his wife Mary finished the project in September of 1896, at a final cost of $300,000. She purchased the building adjacent to and west of the palace which is today the YAK-ZIES on Diversy bar at 506 W. Diversey. The Lincoln Park Palace, however, never made a profit and a General Henry Strong of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin brought suit against Mary, as a $20,000 stake holder in the property, He took possession of the property in January of 1901. As late as 1900 Mary Edwards was living at the Lincoln Park Palace as a renter with her sister Frieda Daib. Her brother, Frederick Daib and his wife Mathilda and daughter Agnes lived and rented at the Lincoln Park Palace as well.
I had made a visit to the Brewster Apartments recently because I am a big fan of Chicago history and architecture and knew nothing of the tragic story of its original owner. I did hear that Charlie Chaplin had lived in the penthouse and heard that the building was an architectural treasure so I brought along my camera. There was a very somber yet nostalgic feeling that I got as I entered the building and when I got to the 7th floor (the elevator operator was not on duty so we took the stairs) I had an overwhelming feeling of dread and immediately felt the feeling of falling. I do not consider myself senstive to these things and in all honesty I had gotten the same sense of falling when visiting the top of the Sears (unfortunately now Willis) Tower.
I was shocked though to discover the story of Bjoerne Edwards who had fallen to his death in 1895 before the building was finished. It literally made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck and that doesn't happen easily.
Last Updated (Friday, 04 January 2013 22:26)
Possibly the "most loved" Ghost in Chicagoland
A young gentleman is out dancing at a local ballroom and meets a pretty young polish girl with long blond hair and wearing a white dancing dress. She seems very quiet and actually quite cold to the touch but there is something about her that is both exciting and mysterious. Toward the end of the evening he offers the young lady a ride home and she accepts. On the way home they pass by a local cemetery and the girl seems very anxious and signals to the young man to drop her off. The gentleman hesitates because it is late and there doesn't seem to be any residences nearby but because she is so persistent and agitated he reluctantly pulls over. The young lady jumps from the car and runs toward the locked gates of the cemetery where she seems to pass through easily and then promptly disappears.
He does remember that the young lady had written her address down on a napkin and later the next day he proceeds to the address to insure that his date made it home safely only to be met by an older woman lamenting the loss of her daughter some years ago after being the victim of a hit-and-run driver coming home from a night of dancing. The young man notices a photograph on the coffee table and immediately recognizes it as the woman that he danced with the night before.
I will admit that the above story is more of a conglomerate of a multitude of stories told about the "vanishing hitchhiker" along Archer Ave known as "Resurrection Mary". Some eyewitnesses have reported seeing a young blond girl in a white dress step out in front of their car only to disappear. Some have seen "Mary" hitchhiking along Archer Ave near Resurrection Cemetery only to have her disappear on second glance. Others still have had very vivid recollections of actually dancing with her.
The "vanishing traveler" or "vanishing hitchhiker" legend (after the invention of the motor car) has been with us for a very long time and is widespread. One of the earliest written examples of this type of story can actually be found in the Christian Bible. In Luke 24:13-32 (forgive me for the paraphrasing) it is said that two Christians were walking on the road to Emmaus (about 7 miles from Jerusalem) discussing the recent crucifixion of Jesus Christ when Jesus himself walked up to them and walked along with them. They however did not recognize him. When they got to their destination the two, one named Cleopas, invited Jesus to stay with them because it was almost evening. Jesus agreed and sat down at the table with them to have a meal. Verses 30-31 state: "When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight."
Another Biblical reference could possibly be related to the "Resurrection Mary" legend as well. In the March 2009 edition of the "Paranormal Underground" p. 40, Michael Kleen recounts Jerry Palus (one of the first, if not the first to recount the tale) as hearing Mary say, "Where I'm going you cannot follow.", as she disappeared through the gates of Resurrection Cemetery. In John 13:36 (Jesus was informing the apostles of his imminent betrayal and execution) it says, "Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
I don't intend this to be a Sunday School lesson, I just wanted to show how the concept of the "vanishing traveler" has been with us for at least 2,000 years. It is amazing, however, how well known our "vanishing hitchhiker", our youthful, beautiful, free-spirted, Mary has become over the years. It could be the fact that many of the encounters with her have been very well documented and retold countless times over the years and that many times our "Resurrection Mary" of Archer Avenue is mentioned in anthologies of ghost stories such as David Cohen's The Encyclopedia of Ghosts, Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 1984, p. 293, where she is referred to as a "Phantom Hitchhiker"
Whatever the case, Mary has been a rite of passage for youthful drivers on the southwest side of Chicago for many years and I must say one of the most beloved spirits of the Chicagoland area.
Who is Resurrection Mary?
Let's face it, there are probably any number of cemeteries that have a young polish girl named Mary "Something" buried there who have died as a victim of an automobile accident. But that hasn't stopped the curious from trying to figure out who "Mary" was during her life. Since I grew up in the Chicago area and have been a big fan of the curious, the unexplained and the creepy over the years, I have come across a number of candidates for the title of "Resurrection Mary". I have included them here in no specific order.
Mary Bregovy (1912-1934)
Mary Bregovy was born in Chicago on April 7, 1912 to Stefan and Johanna (Kulawiak) Bregovy . In 1930 the family was living at 4611 S. Damen Avenue in Chicago. Mary was the older sister of Joseph and Steve Bregovy. Mary had worked for Bauer & Black, a surgical supply company, as a factory worker since she was 18 years old. On the night of March 10, 1934, Mary was in a vehicle driven by John Thoel (25) from Chicago. Also in the vehicle were John Rieker (23) of Park Ridge and Virginia Rozanski (22) from Chicago. The vehicle struck an "L" substructure at Lake St. and Wacker Drive. Mary died from severe head injury and shock while enroute to Iroquois Hospital ( a small emergency hospital started with funds donated from families of victims of the Iroquois Theater Fire)
For some time, I have read that Mary was buried in an unmarked grave near her mother of the same name in Resurrection Cemetery. There is a Mary Bregovy 1888 - 1922 who is buried at Resurrection but that is more than likely an aunt to Mary if any relation at all. According to the research I have conducted based on U.S. Census Records, death certificates and obituaries, Mary Bregovy d: 1922, did have a daughter named Mary but she eventually became Mary Williams, died in 1987, and is buried a few graves away from her mother Mary.
Mary Bregovy's actual parents (Stefan and Johanna) are buried at Resurrection Cemetery as well as Mary herself (according to her death certificate). There is no listing of a burial for Mary Bregovy (who died in 1934) in the Cemetery's public computer kiosk (more than likely to discourage the disrespectful) Her parents are buried next to each other with an unmarked grave next to them. (It could be Mary)
The family seemed to be no stranger to tragedy. After the death of their daughter in 1934, Stefan lost his wife Johanna in 1945 at the age of 62 as a result of heart problems complicated by probable pulmonary tuberculosis. The family was no stranger to tragedy when Mary's father committed suicide by hanging himself in the family garage at 4611 S. Damen Avenue. on September 21, 1951.
Definitely a tragic story but Mary Bregovy does not match the description of "Resurrection Mary" due to the fact that she had short dark hair, and was killed nowhere near Resurrection Cemetery.
Chicago Tribune Photo of Mary Bregovy - 1934
1930 U.S. Federal Census showing Mary living at 4611 S. Damen with family
Grave Marker of Stefan Bregovy (Mary's Father)
Grave Marker of Johanna Bregovy (Mary's Mother)
Grave Marker of person once thought to be Mary's Mother
The actual daughter of Mary Bregovy who died in 1922
Anna Marija Norkus (1914-1927)
Anna Norkus was born to Lithuanian parents, August and Anna Simkus Norkus in Cicero, Illinois on September 4, 1914. Much of what I know about Anna Norkus and her relationship with the legend is from an article written by Ursula Bielski and posted on GhostVillage.com on March 23, 2007. The article is excellent and I cannot do it justice here so I will let you read it for yourself.
Sobiesk Funeral Home Records
Anna's death certificate states that George Sobiesk was in charge of the funeral and that she was buried at St. Casimir's in Chicago. I thought that it would be helpful to locate her funeral record and so I tried to tract down the Sobiesk Funeral Home. Sobiesk had at least two locations and there was still a funeral home at one location although it was no longer owned or operated by the Sobiesk Family. The current proprietors stated that they would not have the old funeral records and were probably discarded after the business was sold. I had more or less considered that a done deal until about 6 months ago.
I conduct historic research for a living (when I'm not investigating Chicago legends) and deal with U.S. Census documents quite a bit. I thought it would be interesting and educational to be involved in this past year's Decennial Census so I took a temporary position with the U.S. Census Bureau in March of 2010. I had been working at the local census office in Lemont for about 2 months and was chatting with a co-worker about Resurrection Mary and a book that I was working on and he said that his grandfather used to tell him that he was the funeral director for Resurrection Mary! Now his last name was not Sobiesk so I asked him what his grandfather's name was and he replied to my astonishment, "George Sobiesk"!
I just about fell over when he told me this. I asked him if his grandfather was still alive and he said that he had passed some time ago and doesn't have the business anymore but he remembers his mother telling him stories about growing up in a funeral home. He said that he and his mother were just looking over the old records the other day. I stopped him right there and said, "You wouldn't happen to have the records as far back as 1927 would you?" He said, "Oh yeah, we have 'em all!" He agreed to bring in one and then a couple of the ledger books and sure enough I was looking at the original funeral record for Anna Norkus!
I tend not to put much weight in coincidences and I don't get creeped out easily but this time I was a little creeped out! It was especially weird when he let me borrow the ledger book and actually take it home with me. It was weird because we worked until 1 a.m. and I had to drive past, you guessed it, Resurrection Cemetery. I thought to myself as I was passing the cemetery that the last time that this book had been in this area was when Anna had died over 83 years ago! I thought to myself that if I say a young girl wearing a dancing dress trying to flag me down I would just pass out, but alas Mary stood me up!
I was hoping that maybe the funeral record would indicate whether or not there was a temporary interment at Resurrection Cemetery but it, along with Anna's death certificate, state nothing but St. Casimir's as a final resting place. In fact Anna's marker is at St. Casimir's that includes both her father, August's picture and her mother, Anna's picture but young Anna's photo is missing. One would hope that the missing photo is due to environmental factors and not vandals but Ursula Bielski had told me that she remembers the photo disappearing shortly after the mention of Anna Norkus as a possible Resurrection Mary candidate.
So is she buried in the family plot at St. Casimir's or is she lost somewhere between there and Resurrection Cemetery? At this point my vote would have to be St. Casimir's but stranger things have happened.
Could it be that Anna's body is misplaced and exists at Resurrection even though her burial record states that it is in St. Casimir?
Portion of article on Anna Norkus's death
Anna Norkus's 1914 Cook County Birth Certificate
Willowbrook Ballrom (formerly the Oh Henry) where Anna allegedly danced
Mary Miskowski (? - October 31, 1930?)
I had only recently become aware of this third candidate for Marydom while reading Ms. Bielski's article and by checking some of the comments and blogs of various Chicago haunt enthusiasts. The story is one of a south side Polish girl named Mary Miskowski who was supposedly killed walking across the street while attempting to walk to a Halloween Party. I conducted a search of local papers, Illinois State death records and Cook County death records and there was no person by that name who died between 1916 and 1950. I did notice a blog on Weird Chicago Tours from October 2008 that mentions the possibility of the misspelling of the Miskowski name as Mary Muchowski who died on November 5, 1930. I did check on that and the name was not a misspelling. Mrs. Muchowski did die on November 5, 1930 but was 67 years old at the time and buried at St. Adalbert's in Niles, IL
Mary Petkiewicz (1915 - December 25, 1932)
I have to be honest that I have not heard this name mentioned as a possible candidate for "Resurrection Mary" but I came across this person while I was conducting the research on the above candidates. Mary Petkiewicz was a young bride of 17 years. (I do not know if she was of eastern European descent yet because Petkiewicz is her married name and I have not found any marriage documents or obituaries as of yet) She was living at 5815 West 64th Street and was married to Casimir Petkiewicz. On Christmas night 1932, Casimir (21) was driving a car containing his wife Mary, his brother Alex, Anna Guoinovich (19), Adeline Ruzzis(18) and Alcy Neal (16). On a dark corner at 55th St. and Cicero Ave, a car driven by Steve O'Donnell, who was the brother of south side beer boss, Edward (Spike) O'Donnell, swerved and Petkiewicz's vehicle rolled over on top of Mary, killing her.
Chicago Tribune Artice recounting Petkiewicz Crash
Case Still Pending
We may never really know the in-life identity of Resurrection Mary. It may be that all of the above plus more yet unknown are different incarnations of Mary since the story has changed so many times over the years. It may be ,as many skeptics speculate, that the witnesses themselves have created Mary out of a combination of hallucination or overactive imagination coupled with the ever popular "hitchhiking ghost" story to come up with who we regard so dearly as Resurrection Mary.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 22 January 2013 18:40)
Chicago's Haunt Detective 2011 Book Release Video
Have you ever been curious about things that you couldn't explain? If so, then this site is for you!
I'm not talking about what supernatural creature is responsible for stealing your socks after a couple of loads of laundry (although it is a little strange as to why this creature only takes one sock from each pair) I'm really talking about the creepy or strange things that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives with the end result being the hair standing up on the back of our necks, or worse yet, a temporary but embarrassing loss of certain crucial bodily functions. If you would choose to just forget about the experience, after years of expensive therapy of course, then you should probably leave this site now!
However, if the experience has caused a thirst to find out the who, what, where, why and how about your experience and the many experiences of others, then you have come to the right place!
The Grimes Sisters Murders and the Ghost Car of German Church Road
Chicago is no stranger to murder. In fact, the last word you might use to describe Chicago is "innocent". However, anyone who remembers December 28, 1956 will probably tell you that it is when Chicago lost its innocence, at least when it came to the safety of our children.