On the spookiest day of the year, visitors of all ages are welcome to explore one of the oldest pioneer burial sites in Will County.
The Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission will host its Boardman Cemetery Halloween Open House on Tuesday, October 31, from 3 to 9 p.m. at Boardman Cemetery. Due to popular demand, special daylight hours have been added to this year’s schedule! Gates to the cemetery will open at 3 p.m. for those who prefer to visit before sunset. Admission is free and open to the public. RSVP or share the event on the Boardman Cemetery Facebook Page!
In addition to trick-or-treating, free tours of the cemetery will be available every 30 minutes. More adventurous attendees can try their hand at grave dowsing throughout the evening. The commission will provide free cemetery maps and have local history books available for sale. Donations are gratefully accepted.
Established in 1832, the historic Boardman Cemetery is the community burial ground created by Captain Harry Boardman, an early settler and veteran of the Black Hawk Wars. By 1846, several pioneer families in the area, such as Barber, Freeman, Ingalls, Paxson, Royce, Standish, Strong, Wescott and Whallon, were interred at the site. Although active into the 1920s, the cemetery became overgrown and abandoned over time. Rediscovered in 1972 by 16-year-old Lois Michael, the cemetery was deeded and restored by DuPage Township and the Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission.
As the area grew, the Heritage Creek subdivision was built around the historic cemetery. The subdivision streets surrounding the cemetery are named after the early settlers buried in Boardman Cemetery.
The cemetery underwent a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Project in June 2017 to account for the full tally of individuals buried on the site. Boardman Cemetery also played host to a hands-on cemetery restoration project presented by the Fountaindale Public Library, DuPage Township and the Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission. Results from the GPR investigation and the restoration workshop will be on display during the Halloween Open House.
The Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission historian, Cathy Bouley, collected and cultivated a fantastic scrapbook on the history of Boardman Cemetery, which is available to read and download on the Internet Archive. This is a great resource for any scout groups or genealogists who need a rare and unique local history publication!
Boardman Cemetery is located off Royce Road on Paxton Drive in the Heritage Creek Subdivision. Heritage Park is right across the street. The cemetery is accessible from Paxson Drive.
If you have questions, the Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission can help! Contact them online or call the Fountaindale Public Library at 630.685.4201.
Have a happy Halloween, and we’ll see you at the cemetery!