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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chicago in Cook County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Couch Tomb

 
 
Couch Tomb Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 30, 2011
1. Couch Tomb Marker
Inscription. In 1857, the Couch Brothers, owner’s of Chicago’s Tremont Hotel, built this mausoleum in what was then a public cemetery on the edge of Lake Michigan. Designed by John Van Osdel, Chicago’s first professional architect, the classically-inspired structure is composed of limestone block masonry. The remains of the six Couch family members and one family friend are in the tomb.

In the 1850s, less than twenty years after the creation of the City Cemetery, citizens became concerned that cholera, small pox and other diseases were spreading because of the sandy site’s poor burial conditions. In response to citizen requests, the city reserved a 60-acre unused section of the cemetery as Lake Park. In 1865, shortly after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the city remained the site Lincoln Park, and allocated $10,000 for improvements. Northsiders continued lobbying for the removal and conversion of the remaining cemetery to parkland. Finally, in 1869, the State approved new legislation requiring that bodies be exhumed and moved to other cemeteries. Although all of the headstones and other mausoleums were removed, the Couch Tomb remained in Lincoln Park. It has long been believed that the Couch family fought the removal of their tomb in the courts; however, it is unclear whether a suit was ever filed.

Sometime during
Couch Tomb Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 30, 2011
2. Couch Tomb Marker
Couch Tomb and Hidden Truths marker are in the background.
Lincoln Park’s early history, the ornamental iron fence which originally surrounded the Couch Tomb was removed. In 1999, a generous gift of the Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust funded the reconstruction and installation of the fence.
Photograph courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society
 
Erected 1999.
 
Location. 41° 54.794′ N, 87° 37.881′ W. Marker is in Chicago, Illinois, in Cook County. Marker is at the intersection of West LaSalle Drive and North Stockton Drive, on the right when traveling east on West LaSalle Drive. Touch for map. This marker is located in Lincoln Park. Marker is in this post office area: Chicago IL 60614, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Couch Tomb (within shouting distance of this marker); Potter's Field (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Abraham Lincoln Monument (about 400 feet away); City Cemetery (about 500 feet away but has been reported missing); Catholic Cemetery (about 800 feet away); Lincoln Park Transitions (approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing); Abandoned Shoreline of Lake Michigan (approx. 0.2 miles away); Second City (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chicago.
 
More about this marker.
Couch Tomb image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 30, 2011
3. Couch Tomb
Though badly damaged, a duplicate marker on the back of the one pictured allows for the complete text to be quoted.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial Sites
 
Couch Tomb image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 30, 2011
4. Couch Tomb
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 3, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 624 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 3, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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