Tombstone Tuesday- Rosehill Cemetery – Chicago, Illinois

If you have spent more than two minutes with me lately, you are most likely aware of my current project – the fascinating story of my husband’s great-grandmother, Catherine Seeley FitzAllen.

Every time I think I found all that can be found, I am proven wrong. I recently became aware of a new blog: Chicago and Cook County Cemeteries. Fascinating place! Even Catherine’s final resting place has a story attached to it!

By Thshriver (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0
(, via Wikimedia Commons

The recent post, Elevator in a Cemetery described the uniqueness of this cemetery located in Chicago, Illinois. Apparently, back in the early days of this cemetry (mid- to late 1800s), the most common ways to get to Rosehill was by horse-drawn hearse of a local funeral train.

The problem was that the railroad tracks and the cemetery station platform were above grade. As a result, moving the casket from the funeral train to the ground-level cemetery was quite a problem. Rather than having pallbearers manuever the casket down a steep set of stairs , an elevator was built. The manually operated elevator was in a separate building next to the railroad tracks. Once the casket was lowered to ground-level, it could then be loaded on to a horse and wagon for the procession to the gravesite.
The funeral train and elevator are no longer used, but the elevator still remains. I have no idea if the elevaor was still in use when Catherine died in 1916, but I suspect it certainly could have been. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. Everything about her has been a surprise!!
I don’t have a picture of Catherine’s grave nor that of her daughter Ida, who is also buried there. I plan to post a photo request on FindAGrave – maybe I’ll get lucky!!
To learn about some of the fascinating headstones and memorials at Rosehill, click here and here.

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