Dorothy Gage  LbNA # 58330

OwnerWalkabout    
Placed DateJun 11 2011
CountyMcLean
Location302 East Miller Street, Bloomington, IL
Boxes1
Found BySella Pass
Last UpdateJun 6 2014

Clues

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Background

On June 11, 1898, in Bloomington, Illinois, a daughter, Dorothy Louise Gage, was born to Sophie Jewel and Thomas Clarkson Gage, the brother of Maud (Gage) Baum. Maud and L. Frank Baum had four sons, and Maud had always longed for a little girl. On November 11, 1898 (five months later to the day), little Dorothy died. The records at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery state that the cause of death was "congestion of the brain."

The Baums were living in nearby Chicago at the time, and Maud attended the funeral. She was overcome with grief, and upon returning home, she required medical attention. L. Frank Baum was just putting the finishing touches on the story his wife had been urging him to put to paper for a long time.

The story, as legend has it, evolved as Baum wove it for his children and their friends. It was a fairytale about a magical land and a little girl who wanted to go home. Seeing his wife so distraught after the recent funeral, and not knowing how to comfort her, he named the heroine after little Dorothy, forever immortalizing the child, and dedicated The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to Maud.

Researcher Dr. Sally Wagner discovered Dorothy Gage's grave in the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1996.

Clues

Find Evergreen Cemetery at 302 East Miller Street in Bloomington IL. There is a cemetery map posted outside the office door. Dorothy Gage is buried in "Sub 1, Lot 20"--you can figure out how to get there by using this map.

Take a moment to appreciate the Dorothy Gage Memorial Garden right in front of the office building. Dorothy is not buried here; it was established in 1997 as a memorial to Dorothy and a burial plot for newborn infants.

Now, drive to Dorothy's grave. There are 2 stones for her--a recent one, and behind it, Dorothy's original, small, limestone marker. The old one was restored, and the new one furnished in 1997 by Mickey Carroll, who played one of the Munchkins in the 1939 movie, "The Wizard of Oz."

After paying your respects to Dorothy, look east and you will see a road that runs along the cemetery's eastern perimeter (and beyond that, a walking/bicycle path which is outside the cemetery, and yet farther, a railroad track). Walk or drive north on the cemetery's perimeter road until you come to a "No Outlet" sign on your right, and an old military burial plot on your left. The military plot has a low, white, wall around it, with "Our Honored Dead" painted at the entrance, so you can't miss this landmark. A silver maple tree is in the southeast corner of the military plot directly across from the "No Outlet" sign. You will find Dorothy Gage's letterbox about shoulder height in the tree, under plant debris.

This is the best-tended cemetery we have ever seen, so please take care to conceal the letterbox under debris when you're done stamping in.