Free Tour Graceland Cemetery
Where: 4001 N. Clark Street, Main Entrance Gate
When: Tour Season runs from April -November 2019
Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery and Arboreteum is a hidden gem within the city. According to the AIA Guide of Chicago it’s 121 acres and was founded in 1860. Unfortunately you cannot ride your bike on the grounds so if you want to cover a lot of territory you will have to drive. When your done and hungry walk east to 1017 W. Irving Park Road to Byron’s Hot Dogs for great cheap eats.
Holabird & Roche designed the Entrance Gates and Fence as well as the adjacent Administration Building in 1896.
Free, self-guided theme tours
Free, self-guided theme tours through Graceland Cemetery can focus on Chicago’s great architects and their influence, the city’s turbulent history, its powerful and inventive citizens, or the Cemetery’s natural beauty. A map is available at the Graceland office, near the historic entrance located at Irving Park Road and Clark Street or print here.
Tour Groups must register in advance for approval of their visits and must sign in at the Cemetery Office upon arrival. Tour buses and other large vehicles are not allowed to enter or to be driven into the Cemetery.
Take a virtual tour
To learn more about the historic figures at Graceland Cemetery and Arboretum take a virtual tour. Click on a number in the map for more information.
Print a guide and map prepared by cartographer Jake Coolidge and librarian Joe Collier
To help you locate many of Graceland’s famous Chicagoans and identify their monuments and the architects and designers who created them, you can also pick up a free map at the Cemetery office or download. There are also free Audio tours.
Who’s there (highlights)
Cemetery of Architects: brief overview of the famous architects
Monuments and their Makers: discusses some of the monuments that people had built for themselves.
More: this is a search from Find A Grave.
About Graceland Cemetery
A private cemetery since its beginning, Graceland was established in 1860 by Thomas Bryan, a lawyer with a successful Chicago practice.
He purchased its original 80 acres and received a perpetual charter from Illinois in 1861, and soon hired prominent landscape architect H.W.S. Cleveland to plan its park-like ambiance.
Many other wealthy Chicagoans became members and purchased large family lots and “landscape rooms.”
Still an active cemetery, even today Graceland can accommodate a few more Chicago families who want to join this prominent pantheon.
Originally, Graceland’s southern boundary – now Irving Park Road – was two miles outside Chicago’s city limits, in the town of Lake View.
Long famous as the “Cemetery of Architects,” Graceland Cemetery even owes its design and exceptional natural beauty to two 19th century landscape architects.
It began with a plan by landscape architect Cleveland with contributions from William Le Baron Jenney to create the Victorian park style atmosphere that was enhanced by Ossian Simonds.
Simonds innovative design used native plants to create the cemetery’s pastoral landscape.
Graceland also holds fascinating stories of private eyes and public figures, baseball and boxing greats, merchants and inventors and other unique individuals.