Monday, November 01, 2010

Tomb It May Concern: A Halloween Exploration of Chicago's Graceland Cemetery

As an adult, I've never done a whole lot in terms of Halloween. Sure, I ate candy and brought some to the offices where I've worked, but without any kids of my own, I haven't done any trick or treating, and living in apartment & condo buildings, I haven't often had my bell rung.

This year was one of the more active Halloweens I remember, although in actuality it was on Saturday the 30th that I went to a party--for which I wore a costume for the first time since childhood--and followed it up by attending a Fright Night movie at Facets Multimedia. I saw a silent, 66-minute 1928 version of "The Fall of the House of Usher" with the Cursed Bird Ensemble offering a phenomenal live score.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, my Mom, sister and I took our own walking tour of Graceland Cemetery, not far from Wrigley Field in Chicago.

I had toured the cemetery several years ago, but we had recently inherited a detailed book on what is Chicago's most famed burial ground and for anyone who loves Chicago history, architecture and sculpture, Graceland is one of the city's "must see" sites. In fact, other than perhaps Pere Lachaise in Paris, it is the coolest cemetery I have ever visited for site-seeing purposes, although the list isn't that long.

Click here or on the image below to see my photo gallery of many of the famous graves and great monuments, including those designed by Louis Sullivan, sculpted by Lorado Taft and Daniel Chester French and honoring famed Chicagoans of a bygone age such as Potter Palmer, Marshall Field, William Kimball, George Pullman and William Goodman.

With many of the area's most famed architects interred here--including Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, William LeBaron Jenney, Bruce Goff and the recently deceased Bruce Graham--the diversity of styles showcased in the memorials is not only remarkable, but remarkably apt for a city that continually broke new ground in how metropolises were shaped.

[ Click image to see full gallery; all photos by Seth Arkin ]


All in all it was a pretty Happy Halloween for me personally, and hopefully for you, but I was quite saddened to read of the tragic accidental death of Megan Duskey while horsing around at the Palmer House, where she was attending a party on Saturday night. With the senseless death of Declan Sullivan at Notre Dame--someone needs to be fired or worse--and the brutal slaying of Toni Keller at my alma matter, NIU, it has been a particularly tragic week in regards to young Chicago area residents who won't be able fulfill their dreams and aspirations. "What a shame" doesn't nearly cover it, but then, hoping that their family and friends can find some semblance of comfort also seems quite trite given the circumstances.

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