While we drove around the exterior of Rosehill Cemetery in the northern suburbs of Chicago, we realized how big this cemetery is, and at 141 hectares (around 350 acres) it actually is bigger than some of the city states in Europe. Originally called Roe's Hill, a mapmaker mistakenly registered Rosehill - a name that has stuck ever since. The entrance gate was not to be missed: looking like a fairy tale castle with turrets and towers, it is a landmark in itself. The limestone gate was designed by William Boyington in 1864 - the same architect who also created the Water Tower in downtown Chicago, and who is buried in this same cemetery himself. We parked the car inside, and prepared to walk around the cemetery under the scorching sun, when someone advised us to actually drive around the cemetery.
Days before, heavy thunderstorms had raged over the city, and we could see the consequences everywhere in Rosehilll Cemetery: torn down branches, and even trees blocking several of the many roads leading through the cemetery. The cemetery is laid out spaciously, with many lanes, squares, and monumental pieces of art like obelisks and statues. Here, some of the big-shots of Chicago history are buried: politicians, sportsmen, architects, bankers, actors and actresses.... Some were relocated from the old City Cemetery in Chicago. But we were not looking for big names - we just wanted to have a view of the cemetery itself.
On our drive through Rosehill Cemetery, we saw big, monumental graves, family graves in classical style buildings, but also small, delicate tombstones where families were interred one next to the other. We saw ponds with ducks, surrounded by graves topped by cupolas, we saw the Horatio N. May Chapel, and the monumental Rosehill Mausoleum with its renaissance architectural style, but also an artificial tree on top of a mail train carriage marking another grave. All the while, we did not see any other visitor, which gave the cemetery a desolate feeling. Just at the entrance, we saw the mass grave for soldiers killed in action during the American Civil War in the early 1860s - and realized these must have been some of the very first occupants of Rosehill Cemetery.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Rosehill Cemetery (U.S.A.). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Rosehill Cemetery.
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