There is a St. Matthew’s Lutheran Cemetery on Shermer Rd south of Dempster St in Niles. The cemetery has never been owned by St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Niles, which was founded in 1896, near Golf Mill Mall and the Niles Grill.
In the 1840s, a different St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church gathered and bought the property on Shermer Rd. It was common in those days for congregations to bury their dead near their church building. The old St. Matthew’s disbanded in the 1870s. An association of interested persons was formed to manage the cemetery property. The association membership dwindled and ran out of money in the late 1990s.
A good-hearted local business owner with family buried in the cemetery paid a landscaping company to care for the lawn and the trees for about ten years until his death. Another good-hearted individual took over the care for a few years. A lover of history, he befriended the pastor of the “new” St. Matthew’s and provided most of the information on this page.
In July 2015, we were informed by the Cook County Real Estate Management Division that the State of Illinois has a legal way of assuming control of cemeteries whose associations can no longer care for their properties. The process for assuming control may have been initiated by now.