Out and About in Philly
Laurel Hill Cemetery
Open 365 days a year
Address: Main entrance is 3822 Ridge Avenue, parking on street.
There is also a pedestrian entrance at the corner of Kelly Drive and Hunting Park Avenue.
Due to COVID, the restrooms, gift shop, office, and museum are closed.
The cemetery is easily navigable with well-paved paths, downloadable maps, and an app to guide one on various tours (no chance of seeing it all in one day…or five.)
Bikes and dogs are welcome!
It’s free, but donations are appreciated and needed.
Laurel Hill Cemetery opened in 1836, founded by a group of Quaker citizens. It was unique at the time because it was not associated with any particular religious group. Laurel Hill occupies a 78-acre tract of land on the East side of the Schuylkill River. The river was critical to its use because two hundred years ago Laurel Hill was well outside the city, and people traveled by boat up the river to the cemetery and other landmarks, debarking at various docks along the river. Many prominent people, including of course Philadelphians, are buried at Laurel Hill. There are many important Civil War (Union) officers represented, for example. Challenge yourself to find at least ten people buried here for whom Philadelphia schools are named. The cemetery is beautifully landscaped and contains monuments and mausoleums that are works of art. Laurel Hill received the designation of National Historic Landmark in 1998.
What surprised you at Laurel Hill? I was surprised that we could download descriptions of various graves. I’ve only seen that in museums.
If you were taking a friend what would you take her to first? I’d take her to Millionaires Row to look at the grand mausoleums that you can peek inside.
What is the most unusual thing you’ve seen there so far? The Phillies’ announcer, Harry Kalas, has a monument in the shape of a giant microphone, and by the side of the grave are seats from the stadium.
Lots more information on their website: laurelhillcemetery.org