Historic Final Resting Places—Some popular downtown cemeteries

By Angela Gagnon, Staff Writer

Graceland Cemetery, 4001 N. Clark St., is an active park-like Victorian era burial ground and arboretum featuring architectural masterpieces and a lush local history. Established in1860, Graceland was part of a movement toward garden or rural cemetery design, which incorporated native plants and naturalistic landscaping techniques. Graceland is still an active cemetery connecting past, present and future through fascinating stories that combine prominent figures and historical architecture. For more information on cemetery services, including burial plots, creation options and genealogy, visit www.gracelandcemetary.org.

Rosehill Cemetery, 5800 N. Ravenswood Ave., is the largest cemetery in Chicago. It is the final resting place of many known Chicagoans including Oscar F. Mayer, Jack Brickhouse, Leo Burnett, John G. Shedd and Richard Sears, as well as scores of Civil War soldiers and generals. Incorporated in1859, Rosehill continues to welcome visitors with its famous entrance archway designed by William Boyington. Each October, Rosehill becomes the course for a candlelit Crypt 5K where participants experience the 350-acre Victorian-era cemetery’s frightful scenic paths, historic monuments, fire fighters’ memorial and spirited mausoleums. For more information, call (773) 561-5940.

Bohemian National Cemetery, 5255 N. Pulaski Road, was founded in 1877 in an effort to provide an eternal resting place, free of religious restrictions, for Bohemian Americans. Today the cemetery is available for people of all races, nationalities and religions. The landmark cemetery greets visitors with its breathtaking limestone gatehouse and offers 122-acres of rich aesthetic and genealogical history, including ornately decorated columbariums, war memorials and sculptures. For information, call (773) 539-8442. 

Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 E. 67th St. on Chicago’s South Side, is a large garden cemetery and the final resting place for many notable public figures, including Mayor Harold Washington, Olympian Jesse Owens, Civil Rights Activist Ida B. Wells and an estimated 6000 confederate soldiers and prisoners of war who perished at Camp Douglas. Established in 1853, Oak Woods was constructed with landscape architecture and features beautiful wide lawns and four small peaceful lakes that offer the perfect place for quiet reflection. For information, call (773) 288-3800. 

Lincoln Cemetery, 12300 S. Kedzie Ave., is comprised of 112 pristinely maintained acres and has provided a range of burial choices since 1911. The space includes a unique dedicated Veterans cemetery that honors those who have served. Visitors can also experience the Veterans Walk of Remembrance, participate in a veterans memorial service each Memorial Day, or visit the 9/11 Memorial. For more information, call (733) 445-5400. 
Irving Park Cemetery, 7777 Irving Park Road, is a small, quiet cemetery on Chicago’s Northwest side. It was established in 1918 to serve nearby communities in a nondenominational fashion when the area was primarily prairie, farm and forest. It was constructed with Frank Lloyd Wright-style architecture that features a peaceful prairie landscape. For information, call 773-625-3500.

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