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From Fighting Moguls to Tragic Tales, Rosehill Cemetery has a Ghost Story for Everyone

picture of historical reeanactor at Rosehill Cemetary in Chicago IL

Historical reenactor, not extremely opaque ghost

Gather around ghosts and ghouls: It’s time for some more local ghost stories. This year, I’m going to focus on local Rosehill Cemetery at 5800 N. Ravenswood Ave. And yes, pendants among us, Rosehill is technically only Edgewater-adjacent, but the stories, collected from www.ghostresearch.org, are too good to ignore.

Rosehill was founded in 1859 and is Chicago’s largest cemetery. Not only is it haunted, but it’s also full of architectural and artistic delights starting at the beginning with the main gate, which was designed by none other than W.W. Boyington, architect of the Chicago Water Tower.

The most famous of Rosehill’s architecture is certainly its mausoleum, designed by Sidney Lovell in the early 1900s. It’s a gorgeous art piece, two stories of marble and bronze, featuring a one-of-a-kind window by Tiffany designed for John G. Shedd (yes, of Shedd aquarium fame.)

The mausoleum is the location of our first ghost story. Along with Shedd, Aaron Montgomery Ward and his business rival, Richard Warren Sears, are buried there. While Ward seems content to rest in peace, Sears is often seen wandering towards Ward’s crypt in full formal wear.

Another business-related haunting is that of Charles Hopkinson. A real estate investor in life, Hopkinson continued to meddle in property even in his death. He commissioned an ornate mausoleum, more like a tiny cathedral than a crypt. The design annoyed those who owned nearby plots — they felt like their views were being ruined — who ended up suing his family. The case ended up going to the Illinois Supreme Court. The Hopkinsons won, and perhaps in celebration Charles groans and shakes chains on the anniversary of his death.

Other Rosehill ghost stories are much more tragic than funny. Perhaps the saddest one is that of Frances Pearce, although she was originally buried in Lincoln Park. Pearce died at just 20 years old, followed four months later by her infant daughter. Her heartbroken widower, Horatio Stone, commissioned a statue of the two of them from Chauncey Ives. To protect it from the elements, it was placed in a glass box after the move. The box allegedly fills with a ghostly white mist on the anniversary of Frances’ death.

picture of Lulu Fellow's haunted grave Rosehill Cemetary, Chicago ILThe Pearce grave isn’t the only ghost story that involves a boxed statue even in Rosehill. Lulu Fellows, who died as a teen, also has one that is very similar to that of Inez Clark in Graceland, where people leave gifts and donations. Perhaps as a thank you, her grave often smells of flowers, even in the dead of winter.

There are a few things to note about Rosehill should you be interested in visiting. It’s incredibly large and the cemetery generally does not give out burial locations. Thus, I recommend reserving a lot of time for any grave hunting; while I’ve seen most of the memorials on this list, I have yet to successfully find that of Frances Pearce. It’s also an “active” graveyard, with many new internments unlike many other historical cemeteries, so funerals and mourners should be expected and treated with respect. Finally, should you have the chance, I recommend visiting on Veterans Day. Rosehill has thousands of Civil War graves, and many historical reenactors — in costume — visit to pay their respects.

Also, if you wish to know about more local hauntings, you should check out last year’s Edgewater spooky tales.

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