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Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

The light rose-colored unpolished granite monument, built to honor William Peirce Anderson, is a bit of an enigma. The large neo-classic monument, with its Corinthian columns very nearly hides who is buried beneath.  The only clue is the bronze medallion in the center of the monument that bears a bas-relief profile of the celebrated Chicago architect.  There is no inscription carved anywhere in the stone.

Anderson was acclaimed for his for his neo-classical designs of some of the most iconic buildings in the city with big shoulders.  Anderson, who dropped William and was known by Peirce, studied at Harvard and the famed Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.  Upon his return to the United States, Anderson joined the D.H. Burnham Company in 1900.  His first plumb assignment was the Marshall Field and Company Department Store at State Street and Randolph at Chicago.

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After Daniel Burnham, the principle in D.H. Burnham architectural firm, died in 1912, Anderson joined Graham Burnham and Company as head of design.  He soon made partner at the firm of Graham Anderson, Probst and White which became the largest architectural firm in the United States.  In addition to Marshall Fields, he designed the Union Station and The Field Museum, each considered to be masterpieces.

The neo-classical monument dedicated to honor the famed architect is a fitting monument to Peirce Anderson, who died at age 54, a tribute to his love and ability to design classical buildings that are timeless and have remained beloved buildings in the Chicago cityscape.

If you have very good eyesight you can spot the small letters carved on the underside of the medallion portrait, the inscription reads, “1870 PEIRCE ANDERSON 1924.”

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