Cemetery of Architects • Monuments
and Their Makers • Public
Figures and Private Eyes • Baseball
and Boxing Greats • Merchants
and Inventors • Who
the Dickens is That?
Sleepers, reapers, meatpackers, international reporting, a piano for every parlor
– ideas and industry have always been a great team in Chicago. And Graceland
is well represented with some of the biggest names in midwestern commerce.
Lawson, 1850 - 1925
A Lorado Taft sculpture, “Crusader,” stands guard over the grave
of newspaper publisher Victor Lawson, whose Chicago Daily News pioneered in
sending reporters throughout the world for news. Lawson contributed anonymously
to many of Chicago’s charitable causes, and even his grave is unmarked,
except for the statue and the phrase, “Above all things truth beareth
away the victory.” It refers to a story in the Book of Esdras, King James
Bible Apocrypha, about a discussion of what is strongest.
Pullman, 1831 - 1897
If you decide to sit and rest at the Pullman exedra (which means it has seats)
you might well use the time to ponder what’s between you and George Pullman,
the famous inventor of the sleeping car and the infamous landlord of his workers.
Beman, who built Pullman’s feudally run town, designed the stately Corinthian
column. But what’s underground is more interesting: Pullman’s coffin,
covered in tarpaper and asphalt, is sunk in a concrete block the size of a room.
On top of the block lie railroad ties and even more concrete. Why so secure?
The family feared that Pullman’s angry workers, whose wages were cut while
their rents remained the same, would resort to skullduggery at the gravesite.
Kimball, 1828 – 1904, a traveling salesman from Maine, stopped
in Chicago in 1857, and was so impressed with its vitality, he stayed and went
into business as a wholesale dealer in pianos and organs. By 1881, he was successful
enough to open an organ factory, and six years later, began making pianos, too.
Armour, 1832 – 1901, came to Chicago from Milwaukee to take over
business enterprises from an ailing brother. Armour and his Chicago competitors
Swift and Libby became the barons of the meatpacking industry, centered in the
Union Stock Yards. It was said that the Chicago packers used all the pig but
the squeal. The Armour plant closed in 1959, but his legacy remains. Armour
helped build a technical school in 1893, the Armour Institute, which later merged
into the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Fisher, 1843 – 1916, fought for the Union during the Civil War
and settled in Chicago afterward. He became president of the Union Bag &
Paper Company, and founded the Exhaust Ventilator Company. His monument is actually
an early columbarium – a vault to hold urns of cremated remains, a practice
much more common today than a century ago.
Glessner, 1843 – 1936, was, by all accounts, steady, dedicated
to his work, devoted to his family and the finer things in life. He was Vice
President of the very successful International Harvester Company, but you wouldn’t
know it from the plain Glessner family plot at Graceland. Their Chicago home,
however, is another story -- Glessner left it for the people of Chicago as a
museum. The Glessners were also instrumental in the founding of the Chicago
Symphony, and supporters of the Art Institute, Rush Medical College and the
McCormick, 1809 – 1884, is another man of means with a simple
headstone at Graceland. Only 22 when he invented his world-changing reaper,
he also pioneered the installment plan, allowing farmers to buy “on credit.”
He built his first Chicago factory in 1847, and became one of the city’s
largest employers as well as a millionaire.