Pioneer Cemetery Prairies of Illinois

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Despite being called “The Prairie State,” Illinois has very little high quality prairie remaining. Out of the 57,915 square miles in Illinois only 1 square mile of high quality prairie is left. A lot of this remnant prairie can be found in pioneer cemeteries, that is, prairie ground set aside in the late 1800’s for burials for settlers who tried to make a living out on the prairie. Botanist Chris Benda, also known as the Illinois Botanizer, has created an excellent video on these pioneer cemetery prairies. This video sponsored by Wild Ones – Native Plants, Natural Landscapes highlights some of the gems of the tallgrass prairie found in pioneer cemeteries, with focus on Loda Cemetery Prairie in Iroquois County. Here is a link to the video:

There are 29 documentented Pioneer Cemetery Prairies in Illinois. If you are inspired after watching this video to visit some of these sites here are links to the cemetery prairies that can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.

Beach Cemetery Prairie, Ogle County
Brookville Lutheran Cemetery Prairie, Carroll County
Brownlee Cemetery Prairie, Mercer County
Fairchild Cemetery Prairie/Savanna, Vermilion County
Greenlee Cemetery Prairie, Henry County
Hetzler Cemetery Prairie, Bureau County
Loda Cemetery Prairie, Iroquois County
Mt Palatine Cemetery Prairie, Putnam County
Munson Township Cemetery Prairie, Henry County
Prospect Cemetery Prairie, Ford County
Short Pioneer Cemetery Prairie, Grundy County
Spring Grove Cemetery Prairie, Warren County
Temperance Hill Cemetery Prairie, Lee County
Tomlinson Pioneer Cemetery Prairie, Champaign County
Vermont Cemetery Prairie, Will County
Weston Cemetery Prairie, McLean County

Please let us know if you have visited any of the Illinois Pioneer Cemetery Prairies and highlight your experiences by leaving a comment below. If you have any pictures you would like to share send them to [email protected] and we will post them on this page.