Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Graceland Cemetery

For anyone who loves Chicago and would like to know a bit more about it's history and origins, please go to Graceland Cemetery. Read Devil in the White City before you go. It'll give you some perspective on who some of the more famous people buried there. The above is the Palmer family monument. You may know of them from the Palmer House Hotel. It was incredible to look at this monument, and others, that these people built for themselves to mark their passing. Talk about needing to be recognized for your achievements! This was the largest, height-wise, of all the monuments in the place, it seemed to me. To give you a bit of perspective on the size, I had my pal Rick stand in the middle.

Or some people take the much more interesting sculptor route, such as this one entitled "Eternal Silence" by a sculptor named Lorado Taft. It marks the site of Dexter Graves and his family. I went with my friends Rick and Kylie. They told me to pose like the statue, so I did. I interpretted what I thought he was doing with his feet underneath the robes. I think I got it right.

This was another Taft piece, entitled "Crusader." It marks the final resting place of Victor Lawson, who owned the Chicago Daily News. This was actually my favorite marker throughout the entire cemetery because it didn't have Lawson's name, or any of his family member's names, anywhere on the sculpture. Instead, there was simply a quote that read, "Above all things truth beareth away the victory." I think that simply leaving your belief in your final resting place defines you much more than your name and the dates that you lived. That's your accomplishment. That's the way this guy lived his life, I would hope. And he didn't need to pump up his own ego by marking his grave with his name. Instead, he marks his grave with his belief. I love that.

Daniel Burnham, the architect of why much of Chicago is the way it is (i.e. why the lake shore is open green space instead of industrial space, not to mention his architecture firms many works), has by far the most peaceful and serene plot. He and his family are buried on the only island in the middle of the only lagoon. Their grave markings are small and unembellished. I don't think they needed a mausoleum. It's almost as if they are entombed by nature and serenity. It's really quite beautiful.

That's the thing that struck me the most about Graceland - it's peaceful beauty. There is so much history and so much sadness to be seen there, but all in all, the views and the architecture and the artwork are all strikingly beautiful. I would have to say that it is one of the most unique places I've ever been.

This is the tombstone of William Hulbert, who, according to the map we picked up at the front gate, was the "founder of the Cubs and the National League." I took my cap off at the site and had a brief talk with him about what we could do to possibly turn the fortunes of this year's team around. I hope he was listening.

This is where the Baggins family is buried.

This is a picture of my friend Kylie trying to read a piece of lettuce. She told me that she desperately wanted her picture to appear on SOG2K6. Here you go, Kylie. Mmmm... lettuce.

Off to watch the final minutes of the Heat-Mavs game. Can't decide if I should go into work tomorrow, or if I should try working from home. I'll probably pick option B.


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