Visitor Attractions

Dorothy Gage "The Wizard of Oz"

From: Sat, Jun 11, 1898
To: Fri, Nov 11, 1898

Dorothy Louise Gage was born June I l, 1898 to Sophie Jewell and Thomas C. Gage. She died in November I l, 1898 at 5 months of age. She was interred on November 16, 1898. Dorothy Louise Gage was the niece of L. Frank Baum. While he was writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz the infant died. Maud L Frank Baum's wife and mother of four sons traveled to Bloomington for the baby's funeral which upset her so much that she required medical attention. Baum named the Oz character after their little niece to console his wife.

 

The discovery of Dorothy Gale's namesake is credited to historian Sally Roesch Wagner. She had been conducting research on Maud's mother Matilda Joslyn Gage—a suffragette who worked closely with Susan B. Anthony—when she discovered the location of Dorothy Gage's grave in Bloomington. Wagner brought the connection to light and sparked public interest in restoring the gravesite of the girl who inspired Dorothy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. As the story of Dorothy s namesake became more widely known, Mickey Carroll, an actor who played one of the Munchkins in the 1939 film adaptation of the story, became involved and worked with Evergreen Memorial Cemetery to create a new headstone. Carroll's family had a tombstone business in St. Louis that he had run for 60 years. He carved and donated a new tombstone for Dorothy. It was placed at the foot of the grave leaving the original marker in place. The original headstone was eroded and almost illegible. On May 31, 1 997, the Cemetery held a ceremony to unveil the new marker, as well as kick-off a fundraiser for the new children's section named The Dorothy L. Gage Memorial Garden in her honor.

 

In 2017 it was decided that this tree had to come down. Bill Baker of Top Notch Chainsaw Carving was asked to take on the job of carving Dorothy, Toto and the Yellow Brick Road from the tree. The stump was carved in June of 2018 into this beautiful tribute to Little Dorothy and how she forever affected children's literature.

 

Take me to Dorothy

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