2901 12th Street
Significance StatementImportant designed landscape of the rural cemetery movement with incredible funerary art and mausolea.
Gothic Revival; Classical Revival; Landscape Architecture
1855 - present
Architect / Builder
Chippiannock Cemetery: 150 Years of Epitaphs
Location & Design
Chippiannock Cemetery, established in 1855 on Manitou Ridge near Rock Island, is now part of the urban landscape, flanked by a mixture of commercial and residential areas. Landscape engineer Almerin Hotchkiss followed the rural cemetery design movement when he planned Chippiannock Cemetery. Rural cemetery romantic landscapes emphasized natural features and fanciful, elaborate grave markers. They became leisure destinations in most major cities across the country.
Hotchkiss, who was designer and superintendent of Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, had an exquisite natural feature with which to start. Consisting of the western slope and crest of Manitou Ridge near the midpoint between the Mississippi and Rock Rivers, the site was wooded and hilly with peerless vistas and commanding views throughout the property. The site featured gently rolling hills climbing to a broad plateau. Hotchkiss designed a system of curvilinear driveways winding around burial sections that still exist today.
Monuments, Grave Markers & Mausolea
Integral to the designed landscape of Chippiannock Cemetery are the monuments, grave markers and mausolea that serve as focal points for the panoramic vistas within the grounds. The memorials are more than a display of popular artistic tastes; they reflect attitudes about death and mourning, particularly in the Victorian period. Ranging from unpolished, simple tablets to elaborate obelisks, they display motifs popular from the period and the relative prosperity of families buried there. Life-size stone statues and ship’s anchors join six-ton granite balls and baby’s cradles as some of the more memorable markers. Among the most well known markers are the Celtic cross erected in honor of Civil War naval officer William Henry Harte and designed by Alexander Stirling Calder, the sleeping dog statue guarding the Dimick children and the mourning woman at the Cable monument.
The Sexton’s House, a Gothic Revival farmhouse that predates the cemetery, was historically the home of the cemetery superintendent up until the 2000s. Since 1922, a member of the Vogele family has served as superintendent at Chippiannock Cemetery.
Chippiannock Cemetery, a Sauk and Fox Indian word meaning “village of the dead,” was established out of local necessity. In 1854, Rock Island’s population was 5,000 and the community’s dead were being buried somewhat haphazardly in Bailey Davenport’s pasture, which is now Long View Park. The growing community needed a permanent cemetery, and the first board of directors of the Chippiannock Cemetery Association undertook the mighty task. Holmes Hakes, S.S. Guyer, William L. Lee, Bailey Davenport and Henry A. Porter purchased 62 acres and immediately hired Hotchkiss.
Today, more than 25, 000 people, including some of the Quad Cities most memorable citizens, are buried at Chippiannock Cemetery. Interments are expected to continue for the next 200 years, but the preservation of the cemetery is carried on by the Chippiannock Cemetery Heritage Foundation and other concerned citizens. Chippiannock Cemetery was the first cemetery in Illinois to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its landscape architecture and funerary art.