Category Archives: illinois

Chicago Expedition: Graceland Cemetery

I can’t miss an opportunity to see a beautiful old cemetery. On my last day in Chicago, Kat and I walked from her apartment over to Graceland Cemetery, a peaceful place established in 1869.  Its 119 acres are home to a striking collection of statuary and the mausoleums (mausolea?) of many a rich Chicagoan, as well as a coyote. We saw the little animal peeking at us from behind the tombstones, keeping its distance as it loped in the shadows of the trees.

Our visit took us by many interesting graveyard sites, including the above William Kimball monument and this regal knight. The knight is known as “The Crusader” and marks the grave of newspaper publisher Victor Lawson.

There was also this boxed in sculpture of a young lady over the grave of Inez Clarke who died at the age of six. There is a story about a cemetery guard finding the box empty one night, only to see the sculpture back in its case in the morning, supposedly after some wandering.

The Palmer family have their own private Pantheon with soaring columns and imposing tombs.

Then there is the ornate Getty Tomb designed by Louis Sullivan. It’s claimed as the most significant piece of architecture in the cemetery, and, interestingly, at the 1900 Paris Exhibition, a cast of the door was exhibited.

However my favorite grave was Bruce Goff’s. The architect wasn’t even listed on the map I’d pulled up on my phone, but I recognized the blue glass in the distance, instantly remembering Redeemer Lutheran Church where I went to Sunday School in Bartlesville. Goff has many distinctly modern homes and buildings in Oklahoma and taught for a number of years at the University of Oklahoma. His marker was actually designed by one of his students, but it incorporates his prairie gothic style perfectly. It was wonderful to stumble upon the grave of someone I’ve admired for so long, in a completely unexpected place.