Sep 10, 2020

Graceland Cemetery Reopens After August's Derecho Storm 

Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois reopened after August's intense derecho storm 

derecho storm

Graceland Cemetery & Arboretum has reopened after a month-long closure to repair serious damage caused by August’s powerful storm.

Aug. 10 saw an intense derecho storm with wind gusts as high as 130 mph. According to Block Club Chicago, the cemetery at 4001 N. Clark St. opened its gates at 8 a.m. Sep. 9 for the first time since Aug. 10.

The August storm brought 80-mile-per-hour winds that uprooted and damaged trees and monuments. Graceland Cemetery & Arboretum opened in 1860, according to Block Club Chicago.

Graceland lost 200 trees and gained $250,000 in repair costs, according to the Chicago Tribune

“Our power is on but we will likely be closed for a very long period of time out of concern for safety,” said Graceland’s management on Twitter after the storm hit.

The repair work is still ongoing but many debris caused by the storm have been removed or repaired. The places where trees fell have been leveled and covered in straw as well, reported Block Club Chicago.

According to cemetery management, buildings at Graceland remain closed.

The Chicago Tribune reported that no one was injured and no buildings sustained damage after the storm, but that many headstones will need repairs. The cemetery gates will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

When the storm first hit, Graceland officials had to tell families that it was not yet safe to have burials. The staff plans to open the cemetery in phases, with burial services starting first, then escorted appointments for families wanting to visit a grave.

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