St. Joseph's Cemetery
2105 W. Heading Avenue
West Peoria, Illinois 61604
St. Joseph's Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Peoria, was founded in 1865 by the pastor of St. Joseph's Parish, Rev. Henry Bors even before the Diocese of Peoria was formed. The original nine acres of land was purchased from the Thomas S. Dobbins family and deeded to the Bishop of Chicago. In 1877 the title was transferred to Bishop John Lancaster Spalding, the first Bishop of Peoria. Acreage was added to the Cemetery in 1873, 1877 and again in 1934, when land was purchased from Peter Heine to increase it to its present size of approximately 25 acres.
The original use of the cemetery was for families of German descent. However, members of the Lebanese community have also chosen St. Joseph's Cemetery as their earthly resting place.
The Religious Sisters of the 3rd Order of St. Francis and the Franciscan Fathers serving Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Peoria have also chosen St. Joseph's Cemetery as their final earthly resting place.
Instrumental in the construction of the vast number of Angels in this cemetery was the family of John Merkle, his son and grandson. Merkle, a stonecutter who arrived in America from Germany in 1854 brought his talents to Peoria and started a monument company. He and his ancestors placed numerous "Angels of Stone" throughout the cemetery to stand guard and symbolize their constant spiritual presence.
A limited number of traditional grave spaces are still available in St. Joseph's Cemetery.