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Spring Valley, Illinois

Spring Valley is one of the most Lithuanian towns in Illinois. It has a Lithuanian church and two Lithuanian cemeteries. According to some sources, it had 40% of Lithuanians at one point and the entire north side was Lithuanian.

Spring Valley Lithuanian Liberty cemetery (est. 1914) is among the most famous Lithuanian sites in Illinois, albeit for the wrong reasons. Supposedly, it is haunted: strange events usually happen at the crypt of three butcher brothers Massock (built 1920). Supposedly, even murders took place there while visitors often see a man with an axe; one side of the crypt feels warmer to the touch than the other side; there has been blood pouring out of crypt and such.

Lithuanian Liberty Cemetery of Spring Valley

Lithuanian Liberty Cemetery of Spring Valley

While locals the author of this site Augustinas Žemaitis met are skeptical of these stories, what is true is that sometime in the 1960s the local youth have robbed a skull from the crypt and drove around the town with it. There was other vandalism too, e.g. somebody once sacrificed a dog there, so police are watching the area. Some locals told that even though the cemetery itself might not be haunted, there may have been "something bad" there from the older times.

The Lithuanian Liberty cemetery indeed looks quite creepy, as it is overgrown and many graves are overturned. It is difficult to find its entrance but the Massock crypt is visible from the road. The ~3 m high main cemetery memorial with cemetery name "Lithuanian Liberty Cemetery Incorporated 1914" stands upright. The cemetery was established by the non-believers and "liberty" likely means liberty from the church. The fact that many communists were likely buried there also may give chills to the modern day people who know the later Lithuanian history.

Massock mausoleum at the Lithuanian Liberty Cemetery of Spring Valley

Massock mausoleum at the Lithuanian Liberty Cemetery of Spring Valley

In total contrast to the Lithuanian liberty cemetery, the town's St. Anne Catholic Lithuanian cemetery (est. 1912) that covers a hill is well-maintained and a nice place to walk. It has numerous large memorials, including two main cemetery memorials. One of them (erected 1992) incorporates a sculpture from now-closed Lithuanian St. Anne church, with an image of that church underneath. On that memorial, seven Lithuanian priests of the St. Anne church are also listed. Another memorial is a cross at the center, with the Lithuanian societies that donated it listed.

Spring Valley St. Anne Lithuanian cemetery new monument

Spring Valley St. Anne Lithuanian cemetery new monument

Spring Valley St. Anne Lithuanian cemetery

Spring Valley St. Anne Lithuanian cemetery

The St. Anne Lithuanian church is one of the oldest Lithuanian-American churches, constructed in the 1897. Its cornerstone has a pre-modern Lithuanian-American inscription "Lietuwiszka bazrimoka Szw! Onos. Budawota dien. 26 liep 1987 m." (Lithuanian St. Ann church opened in 1897 06 26"). Stained-glass windows with the names of Lithuanian sponsors also remain inside. The church was closed in the early 1990s to the dismay of local Lithuanians, some of whom stopped going to the Catholic church at all afterward.

Spring Valley St. Anne Lithuanian church

Spring Valley St. Anne Lithuanian church

Cornerstone of the Spring Valley Lithuanian church

Cornerstone of the Spring Valley Lithuanian church

There are a few Lithuanian-related exhibits in the small Spring Valley Historical Society museum

The map

All the Lithuanian locations, described in this article, are marked on this interactive map, made by the "Destination Lithuanian America" expedition (click the link):

Interactive map of Spring Valley Lithuanian sites

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