Graceland Cemetery Chicago

Like many Chicagoan’s, I devoured the book Devil in the White City. The author presents a unique view of Chicago history by intertwining the story of the 1893 World’s Fair along with the story of a serial killer. Hopped up on Chicago history, I learned that many of Chicago’s historical figures are resting at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, which is located just a few blocks north of Wrigley Field.  If you are interested in history, architecture, or are just looking for a quiet oasis in the city, make sure that Graceland Cemetery is on your Chicago itinerary! I have visited many times, including a Halloween outing with a local photography club.

Graceland Cemetery was established in 1860 by Thomas Bryan, a lawyer who served as director of the 1893 World’s Fair. Here you will find many of Chicago’s early prominent citizens, names you’ll recognize as street names if you’ve spent any time in Chicago. Names like Marshall Field, Potter Palmer, George Pullman, Cyrus McCormick, Louis Armour, and many more. You will also see the work of famous architects such as Louis H Sullivan, Mies Van der Roe and sculptor Loredo Taft.

Here are some of my favorite spots at Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery.

Dexter Graves, d.1844, was a hotel owner in early Chicago. This figure was named Eternal Silence, by the sculptor, Loredo Taft.

George Pullman, d.1897, is the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car.  The Pullman neighborhood on the South Side is now a historical site which you can also visit and tour.

Potter Palmer, d.1902, was originally a retailer who sold his store to Marshall Field, and later founded the Palmer House (now the Palmer House Hilton.)

Henry Harrison Getty (d.1920) was a lumber merchant.  This tomb was designed by renowned architect Louis Sullivan, who is also buried at Graceland Cemetery.

Marshall Field (d.1906) is of course the founder of Marshall Field & Company, an iconic retailer anchored on State Street.  He also provided $1 million to create the Field Museum.

Peter Schoenhofen (d.1893) founded the Schoenhofen Brewing Company.

This is just a small sample of the variety of architecture and design that you’ll find at Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery. I recommend purchasing the Chicago Architecture Foundation book that is available, as it gives a ton more information than the free pamphlet at the entrance, and is a nice souvenir from your visit. It is available for $10 at the Graceland office, or from the Chicago Architecture Foundation at 224 South Michigan Avenue.

Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery can be reached by public transportation, by taking the CTA Red Line to Sheridan and walking a 1/2 mile West.  The cemetery is rather large, so wear comfortable shoes or drive.  If you are driving, be sure to check the Cubs schedule as traffic in the area will be awful if the 2016 World Series Champions are playing at home! (Same goes for taking the red line, actually)

This post was written for the 30 Places 30 Days Local Travel Challenge, to encourage local travel, of which I am a huge fan!  Check out Thaleia’s post on Jackson Cemetery in Piqua, Ohio, and Kathy’s post on Oakland Cemetery, in Atlanta, GA.

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Chicago Graceland Cemetery

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21 thoughts on “Graceland Cemetery Chicago

  1. Wow, that’s one cemetery filled with history! With illness and crazy weather I wasn’t able to visit Annie Oakley’s gravesite which was my original intent.I love that I could share about the Randolph Slaves buried in Jackson Cemetery in Ohio!

  2. I am really fascinated by cemeteries. I think they are definitely worth a visit when you are traveling. I stumbled upon one when I was in Lisbon and I had to spend time exploring it. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  3. Wow! I didn’t even know how fascinating and full of history visiting cemeteries could be. The gravestones and mausoleums are beautifully designed by loved ones who care so much. I will bookmark this for my next visit to Chicago.

  4. Graceland Cemetery reminds me somewhat of Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires: monumental tombs. I have a fascination for old cemeteries like this. I should add this one to my list too.

  5. Wow this looks like such a beautiful cemetery. I have never been to Chicago but it sounds like quite the interesting spot to visit during a trip there. I will have to keep it in mind.

  6. I didn’t even know how full of history visiting cemeteries could be. It’s fascinating ! Graceland has a park feel as you wander through the beautiful landscaped grounds. It holds fascinating stories public figures, baseball and boxing greats, merchants and inventors 🙂

    • So you’ve been there! There are so many more than what I was able to list here, it’s definitely worth a visit!

  7. Very cool cemetery! While I don’t consider these sightseeing destinations as I respect them too much, I did visit my first in Louisville which was really cool to see the tombstones and monuments. So much history can be found here! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • That is a great point – Graceland feels like a park, but it is the resting place of many.

  8. This is so interesting! I never really thought about visiting cemeteries until a recent trip to New Orleans (where of course you have to visit them). And I LOVE Devil in the White City! #theweeklypostcard

    • It’s definitely a New Orleans thing, not so much in Chicago, but I’m glad I found out about this place!

  9. Somehow, we rarely include cemeteries on our Things To Do list when planning our travels. That includes Graceland, though we have driven past it, intrigued with the architecture and the beautiful grounds. Maybe we’ll actually stop and explore on our next trip to Chicago. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • I don’t usually either, but that’s the benefit of exploring your hometown 🙂 If you’ve done all the tourist stuff in Chicago, this is a great spot to visit when you come back!

    • Interesting! This is pretty unique to Chicago, and some famous people have very understated tombs.

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