Name: Chippiannock Cemetery (chip - eye - ahn - ock)
Location: 2901 - 12th Street, Rock Island, Illinois, USA
Type of cemetery: Rural (or garden)
History: Established in 1855. Name means "village of the dead" in the Native American Sauk and Fox languages. It was the first established cemetery in the area. Many of its founders can be found in the section just up and to the left from the main gate.
Why it's cool: Unique statuary, including a life-size stone cradle, two dog statues, a six-ton sphere and two actual riverboat anchors. The cover of my book, "Images of America: Chippiannock Cemetery," features an amazing bronze monument of a large sarcophagus and a life-size mourning woman. This monument was created by artist Paul DeVigne (his signature is at the base of the woman's dress) in Brussels and shipped to the U.S. It stands proudly within the Cable family plot.
Notable residents: Col. George Davenport (first white citizen of Rock Island), founders and other VIPs of the city, Frederick Boetje (Boetje's Mustard--a spicy, brown, stone-ground mustard; if you haven't tried it, you need to), a well-respected entomologist (bug scientist), and people connected to mobster John Looney (when Al Capone met him, he said he was the scariest person he'd ever met).
Tips for visiting: This cemetery is build on top of and down the side of a bluff. You're in the Mississippi River Valley here, so a few of our cemeteries are built into hills. Wear your walking shoes, a hat and sunscreen. There are a lot of trees here, but there are also some open places, too. Check by the office for a self-guided tour brochure on the people involved with gangster John Looney (the book by Max Allan Collins and movie "Road to Perdition" were based on people and events connected to him--Paul Newman played the Looney character, but his name was changed to Rooney).
Local places to eat: Jim's Rib Haven is a local favorite; it's not fancy, but the food is delicious. The Blue Cat Brew Pub offers up great micro-brews and a full menu. For coffee, head to Theo's Java Club.
If you visit Chippiannock, let me know! It's in my area. You never know, I may even meet you there. :)
Let's take a trip!
In this blog, I'm going to give you tips on how to take the best "gravecations" (vacations or roadtrips based around visiting cemeteries. If you're a taphophile (someone who loves visiting cemeteries for the history and art of them), you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you have your own tips on what cemeteries to visit, send me an email.