Graveyards of Illinois: Home
Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum

At 350 acres, Rosehill is the largest cemetery in the City of Chicago. It is also one of the oldest, established in February of 1859 with the first burial that same month. The name "Rosehill" resulted from a mapmaker's error - the area was previously called "Roe's Hill", named for nearby tavernkeeper Hiram Roe. [AIA 1993]

Rosehill is west of the Metra tracks that parallel Ravenswood Avenue. The larger and older portion of the cemetery is south of Peterson; to the north is a smaller section that permits only lawn-level markers.

The cemetery was landscaped by William Saunders. Its prominent features include an entrance gate of Joliet limestone, designed by William Boyington; a Romanesque chapel by Joseph Silsbee; and the city's largest public mausoleum, by Sidney Lovell. [AIA 1993]

Rosehill includes, among other attractions, the graves of numerous Chicago mayors (including Long John Wentworth), Civil War generals and soldiers, and Charles Gates Dawes, Vice President of the United States. Household names such as Oscar Mayer, Montgomery Ward, and Richard Sears are interred here as well.

The climactic scene of the movie Next of Kin was filmed at Rosehill, with a gunfight taking place in the area west of the chapel. The funeral scene in Backdraft takes place at the Volunteer Firefighter's Monument at Rosehill, but was actually filmed elsewhere using a replica of this monument. Lulu Fellowes (the girl in the glass box) also appeared in the film U.S. Marshals.

Much of the information here was provided by David Wendell, formerly historian and archivist at Rosehill.

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