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Graceland Cemetery

4001 N. Clark St.
Chicago  Illinois  60613
United States
(773) 525-1105

Midwest Living Review

Kit Bernardi
Founded in the 1860s and open for "tombstone tours," park-like Graceland Cemetery is Chicago's Victorian Era celebrity graveyard.

Founded in the 1860s, Graceland Cemetery on Chicago's north side is a popular resting place for local A-listers from the Victorian Era; headstones read like historic headlines. Famous names buried beneath impressive monuments include businessmen Phillip Armour, Cyrus McCormick and George Pullman; architects Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; civic leaders Marshall Field, Potter Palmer and Joseph Medill; and sportsmen William Hulbert, Robert Fitzsimmons and Jack Johnson.

But Graceland isn’t just an old boys’ club; powerful women who shaped Chicago history also rest here. For instance, Kate Warne, the nation's first female Pinkerton detective, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie School artist-architect employee Marion Mahony Griffin. Bertha Honor Palmer helped bring the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition to Chicago and donated her French Impressionist paintings to the Art Institute. Mary Jane Richardson Jones, a free African-American woman, funded Provident Hospital for Blacks and a Black women's nursing school.

Despite Graceland's tranquil parklike setting, there's no rest for these 19th-century celebrities. Free, self-guided cemetery tours are posted on Graceland's website, and tourists wander among tombstones firing off photos like paparazzi. For guided cemetery tours, contact the Chicago History Museum (312/642-4600; chicagohs.org) and the Chicago Architecture Foundation (312/922-8687; architecture.org). 

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