Located at 5800 N. Ravenswood Avenue on what was originally Hiram Roe’s Farm is Chicago’s largest cemetery. The City of Chicago had been after Hiram’s farmland for a long time, but he refused to sell unless the city promised to build a cemetery and name it after him. They agreed, but city clerks misspelled the name and the result was Rosehill Cemetery instead of Roe’s Hill Cemetery. I believe there was some underhandedness taking place back in 1864.
The beautiful gate leading to the cemetery was the work of famed architect William Boyington, who also designed the Water Tower and Joliet Prison. The stone came from Joliet Rock Quarry. Rosehill is Boyington’s final resting place.
Rosehill came into existence after the old City Cemetery was turned into what is now Lincoln Park. Graves were moved to area cemeteries including Rosehill.
Like Graceland Cemetery, Rosehill claims the final resting place of some of Chicago’s founding fathers. I believe I counted over 25 mayors, but one in particular stood out: John Wentworth, also known as “Long John.”
John Wentworth’s is the largest obelisk in Rosehill, standing at 72 feet tall.
A railroad line was built just to get it into the cemetery, which was commissioned long before his death. His wife and children are not buried here, but their names are listed on the marker.
Beautiful shade trees make for an absolutely breathtaking place.
What really stands out are some of life size statues of the deceased–their expressions are so lifelike. Two dramatic examples are Charles Hull and Frances Pearce with her baby.
Frances died a few months before her baby, and Mr. Pearce had this commissioned in honor of them. The masonry is spectacular and the baby looks realistic. They both appear as if sleeping peacefully.
There are many Civil War veterans buried here.
There are also a number of Masons and Knights Templar buried here. I have always been intrigued with the history of the Freemasons and Knights Templar, and Rosehill has many buried on its grounds. There were signs indicating that you are entering the burial ground of the Masons, and a similar message was displayed for Knights Templar.
Although I can’t explain the significance, the arrangement of graves is puzzling and fascinating. The different ranks were clearly marked.
One who really caught my attention was the grave on John Finch. He was a Grand Templar, the highest ranking Knight Templar in this country at that time.
Take a visit to Rosehill Cemetery. You’ll be amazed by this final resting space.