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My Blog

Researching Dunning

Good morning to everyone.  Well, it is mid week, the weather has dropped drastically, so I am grateful that I had the opportunity the other day to continue working on the story about Dunning.   This is a time where I am reaching out to anyone who may have lived in this area or know some of the stories or history behind this place.  Please if you have anything to share please post it in the comment section, or feel free to send me a note through my email at thestoryspinners@att.net.  For those of you who are not at all familiar with Dunning, it was mostly known as The insane asylum located in Chicago at Irving Park and Narragansett.  
Well, my adventure the other day took me into the cemeteries to search out where the Crazy Train may have gone through.  You see, the tracks to the train no longer exist.  I found the area that I assumed may have been the remnants of where the tracks went through...perhaps part of the platform.  I also discovered what may have been the pieces to the benches that may have been on the platform for the riders to await the train.  After scouting through one cometary and questioning an old closed up building,(which I may think may have been a station), I then proceeded to the next cemetary.  Upon some discussion in the office, I was drawn a simple map to where they think the train may have gone, but were not sure.  Well, I traveled along the map and sure enough, I discovered the same pieces that looked the the ones I found in the first cemetery.  I then cruised the area, only to find the most disorganized gravestones I had ever witnessed.  I found loads of water damage to many which confirms some of my research of how the train and rains damaged the area over 100 years prior.  I searched the stones to find graves that were the first in the cemetery.  This also lined up with my research.  What an exciting afternoon.  Prior to this trek through the cemetary, I revisited the memorial site that has been dedicated to the over 38,000  souls interned with out their names.  The bodies are from the poor house, the orphanage, unclaimed bodies from the Chicago Fire, unclained Civil War soldier Veterans and the Tuberculosis Center.  I walked the grounds with great saness in my heart.  I pondered over the markers which are being washed away and the knowledge of these poor souls being lost in time.  I would like to put all I have into making a living history as a tribute to them.  I have gathered information from all areas, plus have put my feet into the search as well.  Last night, I uncovered a map which places the railroad and the actual stations which ended at the Dunning location.  As I went over the map, I uncovered the changes of the names of the streets from 1892 until now.  It was amazing information that needs to be researched even more.  I need to investigate whether any of the markers have been changed as to where the streets flowed.  I have walked the grounds where the previously existing buildings once resided.  I uncovered much more than I imagined and now need to continue the research.  Why am I so interested you might wonder?  Because it is a piece of history that has faded away.  Perhaps a piece that was not necessarily one to have been proud of...loads of scandle perhaps?  I am determined to give those souls some additional recognition.  I am determine to make the public aware of what once was...not just what is.  So, if you have a story, a piece of information or even remember anything about the area....I implore you to share with me.  One day, the gates were opened and those left in Dunning were let free to roam without any remorse or consideration.  But those who remained in those grounds still have a story to tell. 

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