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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Going to Graceland

Inspired by Will Storr Vs. The Supernatural, and by a certain amount of nostalgia for my ghosthunting days, I took my day off to visit Graceland Cemetery in north Chicago. This cemetery is often described as one of the most beautiful in Chicago for good reason. Unfortunately, I don’t own a camera*; so the pictures are some that I found on the web. Graceland is a big place. It’s big enough that I saw a fox while I was there, [I’m always happy to see wildlife in the middle of the city], and I got a little lost when trying to find the exit.
*I have one, but I don’t know where. I know I need a digital camera.

gracelandsketch1The biggest surprises I had, besides the fox, were the grave of Louis Sullivan and a mausoleum shaped like a pyramid with a sphinx out front. Graceland had a lot of mausoleums, something I’m not very familiar with in cemeteries. I took some time to sketch this one because I liked how it was appearing to grow out of the hill behind it. My map carrying case worked really well as a portable sketching station. This was the first time I’d had a chance to use it. Also new to me were head stones that were cylindrical in form, like tubing or firewood. A great degree of bronze is used in conjunction with the stonework as well, creating lovely green verdigris over time.

I chose to go to Graceland out of all the Chicago cemeteries for three reasons. 1. It was easy to get to on the bus. 2. It had its hours posted on the web. 3. It had a “glass box girl.” When little Inez Clarke was hit by lightning on a family picnic**, her parents were so distraught that they commissioned a life-size portrait statue of the six-year-old to stand guard over her grave. The statue has since been encased in plexiglass to preserve it from the environment, hence the term “glass box girl.” It’s a really sweet little statue, with lace carved into the edges of her pinafore and a child-size parasol resting next to her demurely crossed ankles. She wears ankle boots and has a hat slung across her back, held to her by a stone ribbon that flows along her shoulders. You can see her picture in the middle.


When I first read the phrase, “glass box girl,” I was really hoping it was glass coffin style, but no such luck. Still, I think that Graceland was something to see and I plan to go back and do some more sketching. It was so peaceful and quiet. It was a far cry from an abandoned place, but it had the same sort of reverential feel to it that an empty church has.

Speaking of abandoned places, I found this website a couple of days ago all about photography in abandoned places. When I mentioned it to Dillon, he said that he'd already found that site long ago and that, "Pictures of abandoned places are my pornography." Ah, the things you hear when dating the artisticly minded.


Anonymous Liz said...

I'm so jealous that you got to go to Graceland! I've heard so much about it. When I finally come visit we must go together.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Sheila said...

How cool, I would have liked to see a coffin deal too. I went to google maps, that place is huge! Are Dillon's parent here this week end? Hope you have a wonderful time!

Friday, September 22, 2006  

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