Rosehill Cemetery opened July 28, 1859. Located in the town of Chittenden, six and a half miles north of mid-nineteenth century Chicago, Rosehill was accessible via a dedicated stop on the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad. Two “good roads” also allowed for carriage traffic from the city. In addition to its location in relation to the city, advantages of the site included the soil character, ground elevation, and capability of expansion.
Extensive public inauguration events included dedication addresses, tours of the cemetery, and a picnic. The Chicago Press and Tribune featured a nearly seven column summary of the events on the first page of the July 29th paper. A portion of the article is transcribed below:
Chicago Press Tribune, July 29, 1859
Yesterday was an occasion long to be remembered in the annals of our city, as happily inaugurating a new, noble, and long-needed enterprise. The question that has long been agitated and discussed seems answered, and finally. The voice of our city having united as the voice of one man in remonstrance against further interments within the fast springing residences that are filling our northern suburbs, and the evil, the positive danger of continuing to bury our dead thus among the homes of the living, the events of yesterday place on record how well the appeal has been met.
We believe a few years will constitute Rose Hill one of the most attractive and beautiful of Cemeteries, and see springing among its oak groves the monuments of taste and remembrance of the departed, who are year by year to bind that city to this by ties and associations continually gaining in power and strength.
Rose Hill is in the town of Chittenden, six miles and a half north of this city, on the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad, the present station being directly opposite the Cemetery, the enclosure of which lies to the westward of the track. It is reached, also, by two good roads – one along the lake shore, the other the prairie road following up the North Branch to the west ward of the ridge.
The prairie on which our city stands lies smooth and level as a threshing floor for miles about us, and to the northward the first change of soil and surface is where, within the palings of Rose Hill, the rich black loam of level meadow or wet prairie, changes a gravel ridge, which in its greatest altitude is from seventeen to twenty feet above the adjacent prairie on the south and east. Thus it is especially fitted for the purpose to which it is now consecrated. This ridge is crowned by a fine grove of oaks. It extends northward and westward giving a total capacity of area of some four hundred acres or more should it ever be desired to extend the Cemetery to such limits.
A little over twenty acres have been enclosed, in what manner, and under what auspices, the reader will best learn from the address of Dr. J.V.Z. Blaney, the President of the Rose Hill Cemetery Company, where the entire history of the enterprise from its inception is given with such closeness and succinctness that it will prove the reader’s best source for information, and appears in its place in yesterday’s exercises...