During Chicago’s explosive growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women played an influential role in the city’s development. The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has just added a new tour identifying these women. The Women of Influence Tour is offered on select Saturdays starting September 6 for $10 and is free for CAF members. The tours meet at 10:00 am at Graceland Cemetery.
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These women are all buried in Graceland Cemetery so it seemed fitting to provide a tour there,” said CAF docent Mary Jo Hoag. The two-hour tour highlights and celebrates the who, what, and how of women’s achievements in Chicago’s early history.
Among the women are early settlers such as Juliette Kinzie and Mary Jane Richardson Jones, an African-American pioneer in civil rights. Louise deKoven Bowen who became one of the guiding forces behind Jane Addams and Hull House is a part of the review as well as advocates for art and culture like Ruth Page and Marion Mahony Griffin.
With doors to professions, business and politics blocked or closed, women had to find their own paths to success. The women on this tour brought the riches they had – whether wealth and status, or intelligence and energy, or a passion for ideas – and collaborated together to build a better urban environment for all citizens of Chicago. The tour illustrates the women’s influence on architecture designed by Frank
Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and H.H. Richardson. It also reviews the history of women who conducted the Underground Railroad; purchased avant-garde paintings that became the basis of Modern Art; created the juvenile justice system and broke up a plot to kill President Abraham Lincoln.
The tour also elaborates on Graceland’s beautiful Victorian style – the landscape, architecture and monuments that make Graceland Cemetery as famous as the people buried there.