A new book delves into the history of Cedar Grove Cemetery at Notre Dame

By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email

When you think of the most iconic image at Notre Dame, the Golden Dome probably comes to mind.

But a new book to be released in November called “The Cemetery Beneath the Golden Dome” takes a look at the history of Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Jim Gillis came to Notre Dame in 1947 to play baseball for Jake Kline and graduated with a degree in journalism in 1951.

Five years ago he wrote his first book, “A Son of Notre Dame.”

Always enamored by stories of Cedar Grove, he and his wife Jane started digging and could not believe the history held among those plots off Notre Dame Ave.

His book tells the story of how Notre Dame’s first priests befriended and ministered to the Potawatomi Indians and converted the chief, Leopold Pokagon, to the Catholic faith.

A plaque in the middle of the cemetery stands at the bottom of an Indian burial ground that was moved to Cedar Grove when Angela Blvd. was widened.

And within the pages of the book are the stories of the people buried there, names local folks will recognize. Names like Coquillard, Roemer, Beeler, Butler, Valdiserri and even Maureen and Terry’s father, Vic McFadden can be found in Cedar Grove.

So who are the most notable?

“Moose Krause of course I'd like to say was a friend when I was a student,” said Gillis. “In my opinion one of the most popular Notre Dame figures ever. We have Leon Hart, a Heisman Trophy winner; he and his wife are here. George and Gloria Kelly, who happened to be close friends, I always thought were the most popular people in the athletic department. Their Friday night parties before home games were legendary.”

Father Theodore Hesburgh wrote the forward to “The Cemetery Beneath the Golden Dome” which will be available for purchase Nov. 1.

If you are interested in buying a copy of the book, we have that information on the Big Red Bar.

Jim and Jane plan to hold a book signing at the Notre Dame Bookstore at a later date.

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