Lake Forest Cemetery

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Lake Forest, IL
United States
Lake Forest Cemetery

Landscape Information

Evergreen Cemetery; Forest Cemetery

Lake Forest’s public cemetery was founded in 1857 as Evergreen Cemetery. Almerin Hotchkiss sited the 32-acre cemetery on a northerly bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, on land with wooded ravines that provided good drainage. Renamed Forest Cemetery in 1859, the cemetery was surveyed by Samuel F. Miller and designed by A. M. Hirsch in a gardenesque style, with seasonal flower displays but devoid of trees and shrubs. By 1863, the cemetery was transferred to the city and assumed its present name. Soon thereafter, the western nine acres of the cemetery were deeded to the Catholic Church and renamed St. Mary’s Cemetery. In 1882, William Le Baron Jenney revised the cemetery plat, creating an open meadow with a walking path across the center, with trees and a loop path around the cemetery perimeter. In 1900 O. C. Simonds, who worked with Jenney on Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery in the late 1870s, refined the cemetery design. Echoing his work at Graceland, Simonds eliminated plot fencing to create a more unified lawn and open vistas. Structures in the cemetery came later, with mausoleums erected from 1906-1934; the Gothic-style Barrel Memorial Gate built in 1919; and a Columbarium Wall constructed in 2000, along with four inter-connected Prairie style Memorial Gardens. The cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.