Chicago is home to plenty of well-known burial sites. Some are popular for being the resting place of popular celebrities, politicians and athletes. With the vast number of cemeteries found in the city, the selection process can prove difficult and confusing. In this resource, you will discover Chicago famous cemeteries that should sit on top of your list.
If you have a special fascination for the Victorian era, then Graceland Cemetery will surely impress you. This cemetery can be found in Uptown Chicago. 150 years since its establishment, Graceland Cemetery continues to be one of the top cemeteries in the area. It covers 121 acres, making it one of the biggest in the city. This is also the burial site of numerous popular Chicagoans.
What makes this place unique is its fantastic architectural design. You can’t help but notice the impressive tombs scattered across the cemetery. Some of the most notable tombs include the Getty Tomb, the Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum and the Marting Ryerson Mausoleum. Two famous statues can also be found here: Eternal Silence and The Crusader, both of which are created by Lorado Taft.
Another Victorian-era cemetery is Rosehill, located on the North Side of the city of Chicago. With an area of 350 acres, it is the largest cemetery in all of Chicago. An interesting trivia about the cemetery is that its name was born out of an error. The area used to be called Roe’s Hill, named after Hiram Roe, a farmer. He didn’t want to sell his land unless the city promised to name the cemetery after him.
The main entrance of Rosehill Cemetery is one of its most distinct characteristics. The façade never fails to impress anyone who enters. William W. Boyington was the designer of the entrance gate. His other notable works include the Chicago Water Tower as well as the Old University of Chicago.
Mount Carmel Cemetery
For those residing in Hillside, Illinois, Mount Carmel Cemetery proves to be the best choice. It is among the Chicago famous cemeteries, and for good reason. It is a Roman Catholic cemetery consecrated back in 1901. To date, there are over 226,000 remains at Mount Carmel.
It’s interesting to learn that this burial site is the final resting place of several local crime figures, most notably Al Capone. A great percentage of the remains are of Italian ancestry. The cemetery is also known for the monuments and headstones embellished with sophisticated engravings of Jesus, angels and saints.
Oak Woods Cemetery
Found in the Greater Grand Crossing of South Side Chicago, Oak Woods Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the area. It was established on February 12, 1853. Victims of the Civil War were the first to be buried in the cemetery. These included Confederate soldiers and prisoners. Over 6,000 soldiers were buried here.
Oak Woods Cemetery has a dedicated section for U.S. veterans. There is also a separate Jewish section. Many of the remains in the cemetery are well-known African Americans, with the most famous being Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of the city of Chicago.
Waldheim Jewish Cemetery
Not everyone knows about the rich history of Waldheim Jewish Cemetery. It was established in the late 19th century during the second wave of Jewish immigrants arrived in Chicago. The immigrants insisted on having their own Jewish cemetery with specially built sections. In 1870, 280 sections of the cemetery were purchased by different family groups and organizations. This is what makes Waldheim one of the Chicago famous cemeteries. It might seem like one cemetery, but in total, it consists of 288 separate cemeteries with various owners, rules and prices.
Although the immigrant-based organizations have slowly dismantled over time, Waldheim Jewish cemetery continues to uphold its history to this day, thanks in large part to the original caretakers.