Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Social Distancing: Sharing Graceland With Its Wild Residents

With the lakefront parks closed due to the pandemic's social distancing requirements, many have taken to walking and biking through Graceland Cemetery & Arboretum. Photographer Bill Biederman was there last week and came across one of Graceland's few living residents. He was gracious enough to share his photos with Uptown Update.

Coyotes have lived at Graceland for decades. They tend to be shy and avoid all interactions with human visitors. Many commuters have seen them romping around the grounds, observing them from the el that runs above the cemetery's east wall.

If you do go to Graceland and come into proximity with a coyote, remember that it is an unpredictable wild animal and predator. Do not approach it; do not attempt to feed it; and do not try to pet it.

There are between 2,000 and 4,000 coyotes living in Chicago, and it's a relationship based on mutual respect and keeping a safe distance. Attacks by coyotes on humans are extremely rare, but any wild animal, when confronted with an uncomfortable situation, is not safe to be around.

Thank you to Bill for sharing his photos of this beautiful untamed creature. It's probably as close as any of us should ever want to get to one.

If you decide to visit Graceland, remember that it is the final resting place for the loved ones of many people, and it is privately owned. We are there as guests and need to abide by its rules.

Rosehill Cemetery in Edgewater recently made the decision to deny access to the public because of people who treated it like a public park. There were parties; loud music; drinking; dogs running off-leash; and kids using the monuments as playground equipment.

In response to such loutish behavior, the owners of Rosehill locked the gates and made the decision that visits to the cemetery are now by appointment only.

We would hate to see the same thing happen at Graceland.

Click here for a list of Graceland's rules.
  • Enjoy the gorgeous grounds as spring flowers emerge; 
  • stroll and jog and bike; 
  • enjoy the history and the monuments; and
  • hope for a socially distant coyote sighting.'
But please don't be the reason Graceland closes its gates to visitors.


  1. Good luck...the knuckleheads are always looking for a way to pass on the community as a whole.

  2. That's a shame about Rosehill but I can understand their decision. Let's hope they reverse this once the COVID-19 scare settles down.