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.