Graceland Cemetery is a large, beautifully landscaped cemetery located at 4001 N. Clark Street at Irving in Chicago. It was established in 1860 by Thomas Bryan when he purchased the original 80 acres.
Graceland is one of three notable 19th century cemeteries which were previously well outside the city limits; the other two being Rosehill and Oak Woods (South of Hyde Park) which includes a major monument to Confederate civil war dead.
The Chicago Architecture Center offers regular walking tours of Graceland Cemetery and occasional tours of Calvary, Rosehill and Oak Woods cemeteries. The tours are two hours and cost $26, free for members.
The Chicago History Museum offers cemetery tours, especially in October.
Graceland also is open for free self-guided tours. It’s on Clark Street north of Wrigley Field, near the Sheridan stop of the Red Line El train.
Here’s a video:
Graceland is considered the “Cemetery of Architects” with notables like:
Daniel H. Burnham (“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood”) has the best spot, on a wooded island reached by footbridge.
Some of the other famous architects include:
William Holabird, John Wellborn Root, Howard Van Doren Shaw, Louis Sullivan, David Adler, George Elmslie, William Le Baron Jenney, Father of the American skyscraper and Bruce Graham, architect of John Hancock building and Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Ludwig famous for saying, “Less is more,” lies under elegant black granite slabs.
Louis Sullivan is in Graceland under a monument paid for by fellow architects after he died penniless, unwilling to design in the throwback Beaux Arts style that swept the nation after the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893.
Graceland’s residents are A Listers of Chicago society: retailer Marshall Field (below)
Look for meat-packer Philip Armour, hotelier Potter Palmer, piano maker William Kimball. In the case of Potter Palmer and his socialite wife, Bertha Honoré Palmer, who lie under the canopy of a 16-column Greek temple, in sarcophagi the exact size of Alexander the Great’s, it says, “We didn’t have much taste, but we had a lot of money.”
Prior to the 1871 Chicago Fire, Lincoln Park was the city’s cemetery. The edge of the pond around Daniel Burnham‘s burial island, was lined with broken headstones after the fire.
Lincoln Park became a recreational area, with a single mausoleum remaining, the “Couch tomb”, containing the remains of Ira Couch. The Couch Tomb is one of oldest structures in the City that wasn’t destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire.
For more information visit: www.gracelandcemetery.org
The cemetery’s walls are topped off with wrought iron spear point fencing. Many of the cemetery’s tombs are of great architectural or artistic interest, including the Getty Tomb, the Martin Ryerson Mausoleum (both designed by architect Louis Sullivan), and the Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum. The industrialist George Pullman was buried at night, in a lead-lined coffin within an elaborately reinforced steel-and-concrete vault, to prevent his body from being exhumed and desecrated by labor activists.
Visit the mausoleum of Potter Palmer and Bertha Honoré Palmer. There are two incredible statues by sculptor Lorado Taft, Eternal Silence for the Graves family plot and The Crusader that marks Victor Lawson‘s final resting place.
The cemetery is also the final resting place of Marshall Field, businessman, retailer, whose memorial was designed by Henry Bacon, with sculpture by Daniel Chester French and several victims of the tragic Iroquois Theater fire in which more than 600 people died.