Graceland Cemetery Ridgeland Restoration
Trustees of Graceland Cemetery
In 1995, the Trustees of Graceland Cemetery asked Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. to prepare documents for restoration of one of the most historic portions of the cemetery: Ridgeland, Section O, and the adjacent Kranz lot. The historic landscape of Graceland Cemetery was developed between 1880 and 1930 under the direction of landscape architect Ossian C. Simonds, who was first superintendent and later consulting landscape architect to Graceland. Simonds developed one of the first expressions of a naturalistic, midwest landscape here, a forerunner of the Prairie School. Historic planting plans and photographs of Graceland are extensive but incomplete; on the Ridgeland Section, however, archival information is over 50 percent complete. To ensure accuracy, the landscape architect developed the restoration plans directly on photographic reproductions of the historic plans. Where existing conditions precluded exact restoration, the historic plants were located according to the historic planting principles. Graceland Cemetery has a long-term perspective; the project, with over ten acres and a $120,000 budget, made extensive use of bare root and small balled-and-burlapped shrubs, small caliper trees, and small container sizes for groundcovers and perennials.
The project was completed on time and within budget in 1996. Graceland Cemetery received an Illinois Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award in 2001.