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C H I C A G O  G H O S T S:
Final Commissions: Graceland Cemetery

(Copyright Ursula Bielski, 2007)

Most 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).