Graceland Cemetery Strategic Landscape Plan
Trustees of Graceland Cemetery
The Graceland Cemetery Strategic Landscape Plan guides future landscape restoration, development, and maintenance of Chicago’s pre-eminent landmark cemetery. The Plan is not a “Master Plan” that commits the cemetery to undertaking all, or even any, of the projects proposed in the plan. Instead, it is a road map for future development that will guide landscape development and maintenance projects and activities at the cemetery when and if the cemetery decides to undertake landscape improvements.
Building from the 1991 report, “Recommendations for the Stabilization, Repair, Restoration, and Maintenance of Graceland Cemetery,” and amending the cemetery’s objectives to reflect current needs, specific objectives for the Plan were created which included historic landscape restoration, development of new interment areas and types, general landscape planting, storm damage replacement planting, a tree planting program, perimeter / exterior planting, and varying levels of landscape maintenance differentiated by area.
In order to target restoration, development, and maintenance recommendations to specific areas, the Plan divides the cemetery into distinct sub-areas that are defined by similar conditions and treatment. These sub-areas, in turn, have restoration, development, and maintenance guidelines that are more targeted, rather than taking a cemetery-wide approach to these subjects.
Restoration of the existing landscape, and reconstruction of the vast majority of the historic landscape that has been lost, has been a priority of the cemetery since the early 1990s, and will continue to be a priority. Along with restoration, the Plan addresses areas where new elements should be considered. The cemetery has maintained a flexible attitude toward historic elements, and continues to evaluate the pros and cons of new development projects and new elements versus the value of the existing historic fabric and the historic design principles. Maintenance ensures that the cemetery’s landscape is well grounded and continues to thrive for decades, and perhaps centuries, to come.