C H I C A G O G H O S T S:
Final Commissions: Graceland Cemetery
(Copyright Ursula Bielski, 2007)
Chicagoans know that Graceland Cemetery, one of Chicago's most
beautiful, is a haunted place. For years, witnesses have seen the
spirit of Inez Clarke playing near her storied statue, experienced
deathlike trances near Lorado Taft's likeness of "Eternal Silence," and
heard the baying of a green-eyed ghost dog at the tomb of Ludwig Wolff.
But few know that Graceland is also home to an extraordinary
gathering of Chicago architects. Here lies William LeBaron Jenney,
inventor of the steel skeleton frame and, hence, the first
skyscraper. With him, Daniel Burnham, designer of the Columbian
Exposition’s “White City” and the Plan of Chicago.
Louis Sullivan is here, too, his gravestone decorated with lacy
metalwork reminiscent of Sullivan’s own gorgeous work; nearby
rests Richard Nickel, a photographer who was killed while trying to
rescue pieces of Sullivan’s work during the demolition of the
Chicago Stock Exchange building. The list goes on and on to
include some of the most prominent contemporary architects: Ludwig Mies
van der Rohe, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Fazlur Khan, structural
engineer of the utterly haunted Hancock Building, which would inspire
the conceptualization of a diabolical building in "Ghostbusters."
For more on the haunts of Graceland Cemetery, check out Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City (Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 1997) and Graveyards of Chicago (also by Lake Claremont Press, 1999).