Graceland Cemetery

Nate and I headed into the city for a day of adventure. We rode down on the Metra, then walked across the Loop and caught the red line north to the Sheridan stop. We walked about half a mile to Graceland Cemetery. The very kind woman in the office gave us a map and sent us on our way.

It was a poor choice of days — as humid as it could possibly be with frequent rain, but we had the cemetery to ourselves. We found almost all the graves of famous people, many of whom we had never heard. But they were on the map, so they must have been famous.

Dexter Graves (1789-1844) — Hotel owner, early settler. Larado Taft created the monument “Eternal Silence”

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John Kinzie (1799-1881) — Trader, first white settler in Chicago

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On the east side of the cemetery, there were a lot of fancy tombs. I kept thinking that no matter how impressive the tomb, the guy buried there is just dead.

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I held my camera up to the window of one of them. It looked like this inside:

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Jack Johnson (1878-1946) — First black boxer to win the world heavyweight championship

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Victor Lawson (1850-1925) — Newspaper publisher who owned the Chicago Daily News. Larado Taft sculpted the monument”Crusader”

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Peter Schoenhofen (1827-1893) — Brewer. Tomb designed by Richard Schmidt

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George Pullman (1831-1897) — Railway industrialist, inventor of the sleeping car

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William Kimball (1828-1904) — Piano and organ business

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Potter Palmer (1826-1902) — In cotton and dry goods, real estate investor who sold his dry-goods store to Marshall Field

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John Altgeld (1847-1902) — Lawyer and judge, Governor of Illinois who pardoned the Haymarket anarchists

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Daniel Burnham (1846-1912) — Architect of the Columbian Exposition of 1893. His tomb was on an island accessible by a bridge.

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H.H. Getty — Lumber baron. Tomb designed by Louis Sullivan

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Joseph Medill (1823-1899) — Owner of the Chicago Tribune, Mayor of Chicago, one of the founders of the Republican Party

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Philip Amour (1832-1901) — In the meat packing industry

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The largest tombs, and the largest congregation of famous tombs, were clustered around the small lake.

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Lucius Fisher (1843-1916) — Civil War veteran, real estate investor

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) — Architect who perfected the International Style

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Bruce Goff (1904-1982) — Architect known for innovative one-of-a-kind designs and an “uncongenial use of material”

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Marshall Field (1835-1906) — Owner of largest retail and wholesale dry-goods company in the world

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William Hulbert (1832-1882) — Founder of the Chicago Cubs and the National League

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Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884) — Founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency

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Random scene

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I showed Sally this next gravestone and we made a pact not to bury each other under a similar one.

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We were there about an hour and a half and saw nobody except a couple landscapers. It’s not a tour I want to take frequently, but it was interesting to do once. And it gets me another check on my 30 THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD DO IN GREATER CHICAGOLAND list.

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