Tour Rosehill Cemetery with Al Walavich

Vol. XII No. 1 - SPRING 2001

On Sunday, May 6th from noon to 3 p.m. the Edgewater Historical Society is presenting an historical walk through one of the most important cemeteries in the City of Chicago, Rosehill Cemetery. Our tour guide will Mr. Al Walavich and this will be a fundraising event for the Society.

Al Walavich is a life-long Chicagoan and a local historian who views cemeteries as useful source documents for examining history. He has conducted tours of Chicago area cemeteries for the Chicago Historical Society, the City of Chicago Neighborhood Tours Program, the Newberry Library, the Uptown Historical Society, the Edgewater Historical Society, the Jane Austen Society of North America, the Beverly Arts Center, the Bohemian National Cemetery and Rosehill Cemetery.

Walavich developed his first tour in 1984 as a fund raiser for the then fledgling Uptown Historical Society which he helped establish. He has expanded upon that first tour to examine cemeteries as repositories of local history as well as vast open air museums of extraordinary funerary design and ornament. His tours deal with not only the famous names of those who built Chicago, but also with many of the unknowns whose lives and deaths make up part of the fabric of the city. In addition, the tours examine the symbols appearing on the monuments of everyone from our Victorian ancestors to people of the present day. The tours are often gossipy and chatty, sharing interesting details about the lives of those buried in cemeteries.

One point must be made, however: these are not “Ghost Tours” but rather discussions of the social and political history of the Chicagoland area. The Edgewater area has the famous Rosehill Cemetery. Some points of interest there might include:

  • The 1864 gate designed by Boyington, who also designed the famous Chicago Water Tower.
  • The Civil War section
  • The Volunteer Fireman’s Monument.
  • The towering obelisk of Chicago Mayor John Wentworth
  • The Horatio May Memorial Chapel, where our 1:00 p.m. luncheon will be held.
  • The dramatic mausoleums and monuments around Rosehill’s central lake.

Mr. Walavich continually studies his subject matter and expands his knowledge of Rosehill’s history so that each tour is different from any other tour.