4001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613
Graceland, a Victorian Era cemetery and the most extravagant cemetery in my home town, Chicago. Finally resting place of the famous and the well-to-do. Located on the north side at the intersection of Irving Park Road and Clark. I’d wager to way that most Chicagoan’s know of this place and a good amount of them most likely believe it’s haunted. The day of my visit, the weather was lovely. The shadows and light played perfectly with my camera. There is so much to explore here. So many treasures waiting to be discovered and photographed. Pictured above was a rare and unique find for me. He sits in the back part of the cemetery on a headstone. The sculpture is of a boy who plays the flute for eternity. Creepy? Some might think so.
“For all we know this may only be a dream.
We come and go like ripples on a stream.
For all we know tomorrow may never come.
For all we know.”
If so, read on.
“Eternal Silence” otherwise known as the Dexter Graves Memorial or the “Statue of Death”, stands 8 feet tall and is made of bronze. It is surrounded by a black granite platform. The weathering is pretty neat. The bronze has weathered and taken on a greenish patina while the face has remained dark. Cool, isn’t it?
There’s a rather strange theory that if you look at the statue directly in the face, that you will see the image of your own death. Urban legend states that if you try and photograph the statue, your camera will not work. Obviously my pictures have debunked this myth.
To get into Dexter Graves, I believe that we must have a little bit of history of Chicago’s first cemetery. Chicago’s city cemetery opened in 1843 was located in what is now known as the southern end of Lincoln Park. By 1860, the cemetery was shut down do to overcrowding, the expanding city, and fear of waterborne diseases due to its location near the waterfront. Many of the bodies were relocated to newly opened Graceland which was a different type of cemetery all together. Graceland was a new breed of cemetery, picturesque and park-like. Since Dexter Graves died in 1844 he was buried at the city cemetery and presumably moved to Graceland. Dexter graves was business man and hotel owner. He and his family, originally from Ohio, were one of Chicago’s first settlers.
Around or after 1844, Dexter Grave’s son Henry, built a cottage for himself on 31st and actually named the area Cottage Grove which it’s still called today.
Henry died in 1907, and in his will, left money for a family mausoleum, not a statue. I don’t have the slightest idea how the statue actually came about instead of a mausoleum. Either way, 2 years later in 1909, Loredo Taft a well-known, local sculptor created The Eternal Silence statue.
What caused people to believe that looking into this statues face would cause you to see your own death? Was it sheer creep factor?
J.N. and M.C. Clarke
Born Sep. 20, 1873
Died Aug. 1, 1880
Inez Clarke another one of Graceland’s most famous and supposedly haunted residents.
“On the anniversary of her death or when a storm rolls in, the girl’s spirit is said to inhabit the statue above her final resting place.
Some folks have “seen” tears streaming from the marble girl’s face. A night watchman once reported the statue vanished from inside the plexiglass case that protects it. Children playing in the park-like grounds have told their parents they’ve met a little girl wearing “funny clothes” named Inez at Graceland.
Thousands of people come to the graveyard every year hoping to see her. Some folks even leave toys or coins at her grave in hopes she’ll come out to play.” site
There are a couple versions of this predominant urban legend. The first of which is that six year old Inez Clarke was with her parents one summer day having a picnic. The picture perfect day came to an end when a summer storm appeared and a bolt of lightning struck Inez killing her. The second legend is nefarious in nature as all good urban legends are. This legend states that 6 year old Inez was locked outside for a punishment when a violent storm rolled in. Inez, stuck outside was struck by lightning resulting in her death. Her parents, overwhelmed by guilt and sadness put the cause of death as tuberculosis. This though is not the most interesting part of the story.
The critical question here really is:
Did Inez Clarke ever really exist?
There is conflicting information as far as this goes. There have been several people that have delved into the existence of Inez Clarke. There have even been a couple of newspaper articles written on this in the past 15 or so years. So, did Inez Clarke really exist? Read below and you be the judge.
“Based on research by cemetery historians Helen Sclair and Al Walavich in an article in the Chicago Sun-Times in 2007, these stories are completely untrue. According to the cemetery’s records there is no one by the name of Inez Clarke buried in the cemetery. An Amos Briggs is listed as being buried under the statue, next to an infant named Delbert Briggs (remember these names). According to the 1880 census, no one living in Chicago at that time was named Inez Clarke. The Graceland Cemetery files also contain an affidavit issued in 1910 by Mary C Clarke stating her daughter from her marriage to John N Clarke was still alive and neither she nor her husband had any other children. (Remember that, too.)
Sclair and Walavich theorized that the statue was carved by the sculptor, Andrew Gagel, as a sample of his work in order to elicit business. It was originally in an unoccupied section of the cemetery. The information and conclusion that follows is the result of gathering information from death, marriage, census, divorce pension and other genealogical records by author John Binder and historian William Willard.
No one named Inez Clarke died in Illinois prior to 1916. However, an Inez Briggs died in Chicago of diphtheria on August 1, 1880, the same day listed on the monument of Inez Clarke and the “Amos Briggs” noted on the record card. The name “Graceland” was hand written on her death certificate indicating her burial there. Inez might sound like Amos when spoken, and Amos may have been accidentally written on the cemetery record. The cemetery card was transcribed in 1929. Graceland has no record of anyone named Inez Briggs buried there, hence she is not buried anywhere in the cemetery. Also, no Amos Briggs is listed in the Illinois death records before 1916, which adds credence to theory that the name is an error in transcribing the record.
In 1880 the U.S. census shows Inez Briggs living with her grandparents, David R Robhrock and Jane McClure Robhrock, in Chicago. All other sources have the name spelled Rothrock. The Rothrocks are buried next to Delbert Briggs and “Amos” Briggs according to the cemetery records. The Rothrocks were married in 1872. In 1880 there was a fourth person living with the Rothrocks and Inez Briggs; Philander McClure, the son of Mrs. Rothrock from a previous marriage and stepson of Mr. Rothrock. In the 1860 census, Jane McClure and her previous husband, Amos, who died during the Civil War, lived in Michigan. They had a son, Philander, with the correct age and birthplace, and a five year old daughter named Mary. Mary McClure was about the same age as Mary C Clarke.
David R Rothrock was divorced from his first wife, Sarah, in 1872. He claimed Sarah deserted him. Later, Sarah claimed David had run off with Jane McClure who kept a house of prostitution in Lansing, Michigan. He and Jane eventually moved to Chicago. The daughter of Jane McClure, Mary C McClure, married Wilber N Briggs in 1872 in Cook County, Illinois, about one year before Inez was born. The theory that Mary C Clarke is the daughter/stepdaughter of David and Jane Rothrock makes the evidence proving Inez Briggs was her daughter complete. In 1880 John N Clarke married Mary C Briggs. They had a daughter, Beatrice N Clarke in 1881, whose mother’s maiden name as listed as McClure. In the marriage record of Jane and David Rothrock they are listed as the parents of Mary C Briggs. In 1882 the city directory lists the residences of both David R Rothrock and John N Clarke as the same. This continues for three addresses over the next years. The fact the two families lived and are buried together (with the word “Mother” on Jane Rothrock’s headstone) along with the evidence in the public records proves that Mary C Clarke was formerly Mary McClure/Briggs and the mother of Inez Briggs.
Delbert Briggs, buried next to Inez, is apparently the brother of Inez. However, Mary C Clarke denied the existence of both Inez and Delbert, the reason of which will probably never be truly known. While she stated neither of the Clarkes had children from previous marriages, the birth record of daughter Beatrice Clarke indicates she is the third child of Mary Clarke. Based on the available information, the person buried beneath the beautiful statue in Graceland is almost certainly Inez Briggs.
Here is a copy of the death certificate.
Schoenhofen is probably one of the top 5 photographed mausoleums at Graceland. The grey granite mausoleum was designed by architect Richard E. Schmidt for Schoenhofen who was a Chicago brewer. Its Egyptian Revival style has made it internationally recognized. It’s a bit strange because it has mixed styles, Egyptian and Christian. Along with a sphinx guarding the door, there is also a Victorian era angel.
“This giant of commerce is commemorated in a memorial created in by the two men who later would be responsible for the Lincoln Memorial – architect Henry Bacon & sculptor Daniel Chester French. Field, who went from store clerk to Chicago’s richest man, developed his famous company into the world’s largest wholesale and retail dry goods enterprise. French’s statue, the sad-faced woman titled “Memory,” holds oak leaves, a symbol of calm courage. The caduceus on the base, the staff of Mercury, is used today mostly to represent medicine. But we are told that here, it stands for commerce. Mercury was the classical god of commerce – as well as of skill, eloquence, cleverness, travel and thievery.” site
“One of the greatest architects in the Chicago School, his works are distinguished early attempts at aesthetic expression of the height and the function of the skyscraper. As the chief designing partner at the famous Burnham and Root firm, he created The Rookery and the north half of the Monadnock Building .” site
For a biography on Root and a couple of videos about the Monadnock’s construction and why the original Rookery was remodeled by Frank Llloyd Wright click here. They’re pretty neat.
For a map of Graceland cemetery which comes with plot markers and information, click here.