One of my favorite places in Chicago is Graceland Cemetery. I love exploring cemeteries, and Graceland is a great one to spend hours wandering around in. Graceland’s tag line on their website succinctly sums up its appeal: “An oasis of art, architecture, and horticulture since 1860.” Graceland was part of the Victorian re-conception of cemeteries, which saw well-maintained plots and pastoral landscapes where people could walk and even eat lunch while visiting dearly departed family and friends. Some of Chicago’s most famous architects designed tombs, mausoleums, and gravestones, as well as being buried at Graceland. Both Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan are buried there. Built around a large pond, Graceland is a combination of cemetery, park, and sculpture garden. Here are some pictures from my own wanderings.
One of Graceland’s most famous monuments, Eternal Silence, on Dexter Grave’s plot. (Here are some of the more famous monuments and people buried at Graceland.)
Yesterday 19.3 inches of snow fell on Chicago. It’s a winter wonderland. Here is Graceland’s ethereal beauty in the winter.
Since Graceland is one of my favorite places in Chicago, of course I had to set a scene of my book there. Here is the promised sneak-peak from my vampire novel, Mutability:
Moira arrived at Graceland at 1:30 a.m. A full half-hour before the meeting. She jumped the wall and headed to the cemetery’s heart. Graceland was a Who’s Who of Chicago elite. All the big names were buried here: Burnham, Sullivan, Root, Pullman, and the Palmers. The architects had also designed many of the memorials—it was a cross of cemetery, park, and architectural wonders mixed among the more common tombstones and grave markers. A big pond sat in the middle of it with the Palmers’ Greek pavilion majestically looking down on the pond. In contrast Daniel Burnham and his family were buried on the island in the pond with simple boulders as their headstones. Moira had always preferred the Burnhams’ resting place.
She didn’t make a sound as she moved among the crypts and monuments, her shadow blending with other shadows in the moonlight. Her skin a flash of white when the light hit it. She could’ve been a ghost haunting the graveyard. She listened for steps, and her sense of smell was on alert for Eric’s scent. She had been trying to get hold of him for two days to warn him about John. When he didn’t return her calls, she tracked his scent to his townhouse on State and discovered he would be here tonight. She had no idea why.
She caught his scent by the chapel and followed it. It angled northwest—away from the Red Line. Away from wandering eyes going by on the El, and in the heart of the cemetery, away from the roads. She felt the electrical crackle in the air and knew magic workers were in the area. She slid behind a huge tombstone and waited and listened. After she was sure she was alone, she continued to follow Eric’s scent, slipping silently and almost invisible between gave markers, trees, and monuments. She had just passed Pinkerton’s grave when she caught sight of him. He was crouching by the side of a crypt, looking around the corner. She slipped behind him and put her hand across his mouth and whispered, “Shh, it’s Moira.”
Where do you like to go for a day and wander around? Are you a graveyard lover too? If so, what is your favorite cemetery to visit?