scenic park south of downtown Chicago is the burial place of distinguished
statesman Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813-1861). The Douglas Monument
Association was organized in 1861 to build a suitable memorial at
the gravesite. In 1864 the Association adopted the design of Illinois
sculptor Leonard W. Volk.
Construction of the 96-foot-tall granite structure was begun in
1866 and completed in 1881 Three circular bases are topped by a
20-foot diameter octagonal mausoleum. Inside, a Vermont marble sarcophagus
holds Douglas’ remains, surmounted by a marble bust of the
Senator. At the four main corners of the mausoleum, pedestals hold
large bronze allegorical figures portraying “Illinois,”
“History,” “Justice,” and “Eloquence.”
Above the main base of the column are four bronze bas reliefs representing
stages in “the advance of American civilization.” Atop
46-foot column is a nine-foot bronze statue of Douglas gazing over
Lake Michigan. The grounds surrounding the Tomb are landscaped with
numerous trees and flower beds.
Open areas of the site can be visited at any time. During operating
hours visitors may enter the Tomb and view the sarcophagus containing
the Senator’s remains. Staff are available to provide information
concerning Douglas and aspects of the Tomb’s history. The
Tomb’s burial chamber is not accessible to persons with disabilities.
The Stephen A. Douglas Association co-sponsors special ceremonies
commemorating Douglas’ April 23 birth and June 3 death on
the Saturdays nearest those dates. Contact the site for details.