The Uptown neighborhood in Chicago has long been one of our favorites to explore. Some of the many reasons for this include the neighborhood’s history as an early 20th century film and entertainment hub, highlighted by the impressive Uptown Theater; its connection to the founding of one of our favorite Chicago bands; and the awesome landmark situated on the southern edge of the neighborhood, Graceland Cemetery.
We recently revisited Graceland Cemetery on a beautiful Sunday morning. We realize it may seem odd to choose to visit a cemetery for relaxation, but walking or jogging through Graceland is a popular pastime for many Chicagoans. It is definitely a hidden gem of the city, one that anyone who lives in Chicago, or has an interest in Chicago history, must visit. We’d even recommend those touring the city from elsewhere to consider adding Graceland to your itinerary to enjoy all of the beauty, relaxation, and enlightenment it has to offer (for free!).
Entering Graceland, it is immediately apparent that it is both vast and beautiful. A complete walk through the grounds could take a few hours, but the beauty of the landscape assures the effort is not wasted. The cemetery is an arboretum and homes one of the most diverse collection of tree species in the state.
Of course, the cemetery is also the final resting place of thousands, including some of Chicago’s most famous residents with headstones dating from the early 1800’s to the present. Some of the most notable people buried here also possess some of the most amazing memorials we’ve ever seen.
A few favorites include:
George Pullman, an 18th century industrial tycoon so hated by his employees that he was buried under many feet of concrete to prevent desecration of his body.
Potter Palmer, the man responsible for the Magnificent Mile in downtown; he is buried beside his wife in an enormous memorial surrounded by columns.
This list is far from complete, but you get the idea. Amazing architecture to commemorate amazing lives!
Of course, a cemetery trip is never complete without a ghost story. The most famous of which surrounds the life and death of the little girl, Inez Clark, memorialized here:
In death, she has been known to escape from her glass case at night, but the mystery surrounding her life is almost as odd. Read more about Inez here.