A Love to Remember

May 11, 2024

A husband’s melancholic tribute from 1857 reminds us motherhood can be a crap shoot and sometimes the best we can do is move on. 

Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet time. Of course we wish all our Local moms a happy holiday! For many readers, though, the day brings pangs of loss and longing.

Laurel Hill Cemetery monument known as “Mother and Twins” crystalizes these feelings, in a tale of heartbreak and enduring love. The gravestone depicts a young woman sweetly cradling two infant sons. The story goes that the mother and her children are buried here — the mother died in 1857, two years after both her sons died in a boating accident; the memorial is said to overlook the Schuylkill River at the very spot their young lives were lost.

Sad, yes. But true? Not quite – the actual story though is just as sorrowful. Maybe more.

The monument was carved by Henry Dmochowski-Saunders, a Polish sculptor who fled Russian occupiers in his homeland to eventually meet his wife in a Philadelphia boarding house.

Choosing a Green Burial: Life after Life in Nature's Sanctuary

February 9, 2024

How succession forests and wildflowers form a living memorial for loved ones at Laurel Hill

The path to Nature’s Sanctuary is long, a series of turns and loops winding through the many compact neighborhoods that comprise West Laurel Hill Cemetery’s 187 acres, slowly leading toward the northern outskirts of the grounds, where it overlooks the Cynwyd Heritage Trail. The journey lends a sense of significance to this serene corner of the cemetery, where a successional forest is patiently rising up from the earth – and those buried within it.

Beneath the young paw paw, redbud and beech trees, the 478 graves that spread across the site’s two-thirds of an acre are slowly being filled in by people who have chosen a green burial. Interred in shrouds or biodegradable vessels and free of any synthetic chemicals, they will eventually be returned fully to the beautiful nature that surrounds them. On a brisk January afternoon, the sanctuary is in a wintry state of hibernation, but in spring and summer wildflowers burst forth, painting the landscape in amber, peach, lavender and sage.

“People who come here to visit are really struck by the peace and tranquility they find visiting their loved ones in this kind of environment,” arboretum manager Aaron Greenberg says.

Proposed law offers look at another ‘natural’ burial method

January 31, 2024

Delaware’s lawmakers are ironing out the details of an increasingly popular way Americans have dealt with death: allowing the body to naturally return to the soil. It’s one of a variety of ways to deal with bodies other than the modern, and costly, traditional services involving embalming and burial in a big casket. Eco-friendly methods of burial are becoming more popular, said Nancy Goldenberg, chief executive officer of Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery. That’s partly because there’s simply going to be a lack of land for people to get buried in caskets, particularly for urban areas, where land is precious.

“I think this is something we don’t often talk about,” Goldenberg said. “We cannot continue to build cemeteries. The land just isn’t there, and cemeteries are going to fill up.”

Delaware’s legislature is considering natural organic reduction, a burial method that is slightly different from most natural – or green burials – called natural organic reduction. It accelerates the decomposition of the body so it more quickly becomes soil. Some people call it human composting.

Here's where to recycle your Christmas tree in Philadelphia

January 2, 2024

Did you know your Christmas tree could be also be a tasty snack for some local goats? The Philly Goat Project is now collecting retired Christmas trees for snacks for their animals.

The group will also be collecting trees at Laurel Hill West Cemetery on Jan. 20.

A Merry Laurel Hill Christmas

December 11, 2023

Laurel Hill Cemetery serves as the final resting place for several people who influenced secular Christmas traditions that endure to this day. On this special holiday tour, guide Russ Dodge examines the lives of several of these prominent Philadelphians, including James Wood Parkinson, a confectioner credited with popularizing the concept of a “mall Santa,” Sarah Josepha Hale, whose early lithographs of Christmas trees laid the foundation for modern decorating and General Hugh Mercer, who crossed the Delaware River alongside George Washington on Christmas Day in 1776.

Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A Conversation with Laurel Hill's Stewards

December 8, 2023

Uncover the rich history of the second oldest rural cemetery in America on “The Ordinary Extraordinary Cemetery” podcast! Join Jennie and Dianne alongside Laurel Hill Cemetery’s President & CEO Nancy Goldenberg, Arboretum Manager Aaron Greenberg, and Volunteer & Tour Guide Sarah Hamill as they share Ordinary Extraordinary stories of those buried in the two burial grounds that make up Laurel Hill (including two fictional characters made famous in the Rocky movies), their passion for the hundreds of trees, plants, and wildlife that turn the park-like setting into an oasis in an urban jungle, and how vital this cemetery is to the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania. “Explore two wonderfully unique sites with an abundance of history, art, and natural beauty.”

2023 Funeral Director of the Year - American Funeral Director Magazine

December 1, 2023

In her 66 years, Patricia Quigley has enjoyed careers as a social worker, nonprofit operations manager, real estate salesperson and appraiser, and diversity trainer at a large Philadelphia bank. In her early 20s, she was even a carpenter’s helper and a cab driver while getting her real estate license. She ran her own real estate appraisal business for more than 20 years.

Yet, it is the job that she has held since 2013 that means the most to Quigley … funeral director.

“I think everything in my life has led me to where I am today,” Quigley said. “I don’t know if you would call it fate or destiny, but I felt I had more to give … and this is where it led me.”

It also led Quigley to be named Funeral Director of the Year by American Funeral Director magazine.

“I love what I do; I am called to what I am doing,” said Quigley, funeral home manager and supervisor at Laurel Hill Funeral Home in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. “I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.”

Philly’s deathcare enthusiasts want to bring back the shroud

November 21, 2023

The idea that death and dying can be part of life, not handled by walled-off specialists in expensive facilities, has gained traction in recent years.

In a high-ceilinged, brick-walled space in Northern Liberties where people often host weddings, a group of strangers gathered on a recent Sunday to prepare for death.

They had come to learn how to shroud, part of a growing “death-positive” movement in Philly that seeks to demystify and de-commercialize the end of life. Many had been drawn to the hands-on workshop by fliers posted around the city that read, in part, “Yes, you heard that right! ‘Shroud’ as in wrapping a dead body for burial.”

Hosted at the MAAS building, the free event promised a shrouding demonstration (”on a live human”). It also served as the first meeting of a nascent “deathcare volunteer group,” which has aims to help Philadelphians who cannot afford funeral costs prepare and bury their loved ones.

Bury me in Nature’s Sanctuary at Laurel Hill Cemetery – My Ideal Green Burial Site

November 3, 2023

If you recall my rant about the utterly sterile, sad graveyard I noticed in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in this post I’m raving about the exact opposite cemetery. Its founder envisioned “cemeteries that were also horticultural marvels,” and this one, an accredited arboretum, succeeds big-time.

I’ll start our tour of The Arboretum at Laurel Hill, just outside Philadelphia, with the very showy entrance gardens like the one above. (But DO scroll down to see the stunning green burial site, and how Laurel Hill is enjoyed by the community.)

Established in 1836 as the second major rural cemetery in the United States, Laurel Hill East, influenced by European landscape design and gardening trends, is the nation’s first National Historic Landmark Cemetery and one of “World’s Greatest Cemeteries” on PBS. (Passport holders can watch it here.)

After each section of Nature’s Sanctuary is filled, it’s planted with U.S. natives and maintained as a meadow, like the stunning one you see here in its October glory. Then it’s gradually planted with shrubs and trees as the site transitions into a successional forest.  “All graves are hand-dug for minimal environmental impact; no gas-powered equipment is used. Only biodegradable or environmentally friendly caskets, shrouds, and urns are allowed. Nature’s Sanctuary is a regenerative landscape that offers families a tranquil environment and connection to the earth.” Source.

The best places to see fall foliage in the Philly region

September 7, 2023

Most people think of Laurel Hill and West Laurel Hill as historic cemeteries, but they are also an accredited arboretum, with many native and non-native trees. While both have fall foliage, arboretum manager Aaron Greenberg says the best colors are at West Laurel Hill, where visitors can enjoy long alleyways flanked by sugar maples, which are known for their bright red leaves, and by ginkgo trees, which have leaves that turn a distinctive yellow color then drop. Don’t worry, even if you miss the color, Greenberg says the carpet of leaves remains a seasonal wonder. For more professional guidance, join Greenberg on one of his annual foliage tours at East, scheduled this year for Sept. 16 and Oct. 22. Peak foliage is typically the end of October through the beginning of November, but follow their social media for updates.

Laurel Hill Cemetery has a hot rod hearse with the previous owner still inside

September 3, 2023

FYNLRYD has found its forever home parked just inside the gates of Laurel Hill East.

The historic Laurel Hill East cemetery in Philadelphia, overlooking the Schuylkill River, has a fleet of vehicles, including dozens utility carts, backhoes, excavators, hearses, and town cars.

But the one car that most people want to take a picture of is the 1947 Pontiac Superior hearse painted deep purple and trimmed with chrome bones. Called FYNLRYD, it has found its forever home parked just inside the gates of Laurel Hill East.

“Every now and again I would stop at Wawa for a coffee, and one night I come out to ten people standing around taking pictures,” said Laurel Hill superintendent Peter “Billy” Doran. “It’s a fantastic conversation piece.”


Philly Fringe hubs are expanding exponentially. Is this the future of theater?

September 1, 2023

…Laurel Hill Cemetery, a longtime Fringe participant, will support six productions on its acreage this year.

“We’re inventing it as we go,” said Brittanie Sterner, manager of public programs for Friends of Laurel Hill. “The idea of hubs is obviously new-ish to the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and we get a lot of support and brainstorming from FringeArts staff, which is really great. But for us it really means creating a sense of convergence and community, having a space where artists can gather with one another.”

In choosing artists for Laurel Hill Cemetery, Sterner was more discriminating than Cannonball, looking for shows that fit into the mission of the cemetery, which leverages public programming to shift the public’s attitudes towards death.


The 25 Most Beautiful Places in Greater Philadelphia

July 21, 2023

Two-century-old Laurel Hill Cemetery is a 74-acre garden burial ground elevated above the Schuylkill River and dotted with 33,000 gravesites of soldiers, luminaries and colonial Philadelphians. Stunning views (both grave and nature) abound, but deep into Laurel Hill East lies perhaps the graveyard’s most sought-after view. Secluded along the cliffside between Hunting Park Drive and Strawberry Mansion Bridge is an isolated overlook with incredible views out over the Schuylkill River. (See if you can spot the top of the Please Touch Museum in the distance.) Penned in by a 170-year-old stone fence, the 360-degree view gives an illusion of standing in a grand forest, not the middle of Philly.

Could alkaline hydrolysis be the body disposition option for you?

May 29, 2023

If you want to go — ultimately, that is — the way of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, better call (email, write to … ) your legislators…

Clay might, in the end, prefer green burial or natural organic reduction (aka human composting) to AH, but Laurel Hill president and CEO Nancy Goldenberg reports that a dozen area families have “preneeded for” — funeral industry lingo for “specified an advance preference for” — AH once it is legalized for human remains in Pennsylvania. Laurel Hill has offered AH for deceased pets since 2018, and its facility, adjacent to The Laurels Pet Center in Bala Cynwyd, has helped raise awareness. Many a pet parent has toured the space — marveling at its gleaming stainless steel chamber and its so-clean-you-could-eat-off-them floors — as have Reps. Daley and Rabb. System operator Eric Ellerbe hopes his explanations of AH will equip — and inspire — visitors to spread the word. “Usually when I tell them about it, they’re excited about the process,” he says. “That lets me know that they’ll tell others.”

Laurel Hill Cemetery lays wreaths to honor veterans ahead of Memorial Day

May 29, 2023

More than 5,000 veterans are buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery. Wreaths were laid at the graves of previously unmarked veterans Sunday.

More than 100 people gathered at Laurel Hill Cemetery the day before Memorial Day to honor the lives of veterans past and present.

Philadelphia cemetery continues Memorial Day tradition

May 28, 2023

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Back in 1868, Laurel Hill East was the site for the very first Memorial Day celebration in Philadelphia. At the beat of the drums, people marched in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Some were in replica Civil War-era military uniforms while they watched as wreaths were placed near headstones of veterans like Union Major General George G. Meade.

“The greatest war hero in the history of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He was the victor of the Battle of Gettysburg,” Andy Waskia of the General Meade Society of Philadelphia said.

The ceremony brought generations together to honor the true meaning of the holiday.

“It’s certainly more than picnics and going to the beach and vacation and that sort of thing,” U.S. Army Corporal Technician Benjamin Berry said.

“It certainly means so much to me to see the youngsters being brought to these occasions,” the 99-year-old World War II Veteran said.

Sebastian Major is one of those youngsters.

At just 16, he had the honor of playing Taps during the service.

“It’s really important that our generation understands the people who lost their lives either in or before combat that allows us to enjoy the freedoms that we have in this country today,” Major said

Life After Death

May 7, 2023

Like Easton, many of these nearly 200-year-old cemeteries are still active and popular today, including Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Because these cemeteries have faced similar challenges to Easton Cemetery, they’ve served as a model to Easton’s board members in how they can pivot towards focusing less on burials and more on education and experience.

Laurel Hill has a handful of ticketed tours every month with different themes like art and architecture, athletics, music, or nature that regularly fill up, said Laurel Hill President and CEO Nancy Goldenberg. Like Easton’s, the still-active Philadelphia cemetery has its own Friends nonprofit, formed back in 1978, that’s helped to put together Laurel Hill’s extensive programming.

“It takes a while to build up to that level of programming,” Goldenberg said, but it’s built a strong base of interest. The tours, depending on the popularity of the topic, have good attendance, she said, and some of the performance events the cemetery hosts can bring in well over 100 people.

While tickets to Laurel Hill’s tours and events aren’t particularly expensive at $15 to $20, the cemetery’s popularity goes a long way. Easton’s could, too.

Finding Peace

April 30, 2023

Known for its tranquil grounds and compassionate staff, historic Laurel Hill provides a breadth of funeral services and options to honor the memories of those we have lost.

Laurel Hill’s elegant grounds serve many purposes. Chiefly, they provide an inimitable final resting place for loved ones. They offer a serene backdrop for those who wish to exercise, feel connected to history, or simply appreciate all that Mother Nature has to offer. It’s almost impossible to imagine Philadelphia without Laurel Hill, which is rather remarkable given the era it in which it was brought to life.

Laurel Hill traces its roots to a local librarian named John Jay Smith, who had a passion for landscape design. As the story goes, Smith’s daughter died at a young age, and when he went to visit her burial site, he was appalled by the conditions. The early 1800s were a time of heavy industrialization in American cities like Philadelphia, and graveyards at the time were usually attached to religious institutions and not given much thought. Smith made it his mission to help usher in the movement toward rural cemeteries that was starting in Europe. He found the perfect location on an estate overlooking the Schuylkill River.

Green Burials Help Lessen Carbon Footprint After Death

Green burials are a way of reducing carbon footprints after death while still celebrating the life of a loved one. NBC10’s Matt Delucia has the story.

10 Can't-Miss Experiences on Philly's Schuylkill River Trail

April 19, 2023

Get lost in one of the oldest rural cemeteries in the nation.

One of the most scenic spots in Philadelphia? A cemetery. Laurel Hill Cemetery, the second-oldest garden cemetery on the continent, evokes a bygone era when cemeteries were built intentionally in scenic areas, and visitors would come to walk the grounds not in mourning but to see the wondrous architecture and peaceful landscapes. Visitors wandering the free-to-visit attraction’s 74 acres take in 33,000 gravesites, including the final resting places of Civil and Revolutionary War soldiers along with numerous luminaries from David Rittenhouse to Harry Kalas to Rocky Balboa’s fictional wife and bestie. (Download the cemetery’s free app for three self-guided tours.) The cemetery also hosts a slew of incredible activities throughout the year, including yoga classes, film festivals, concerts among the headstones, poetry readings, book clubs and picnics. To access the cemetery from the SRT, just cross the street at the intersection of Kelly Drive and Hunting Park Avenue.

20 Gorgeous Philly-Area Gardens and Arboretums to Visit Now

April 15, 2023


Laurel HillWest Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd

Taken together, these two historic cemeteries on either side of the Schuylkill form a 265-acre arboretum with over 6,000 trees and shrubs representative of 700 species, plus a variety of display gardens. Founder John Jay Smith, along with Scottish architect Jon Notman, laid out the cemetery in the “Gardenesque” style in 1836, but it continues to grow and expand. Its newest addition? Pollinator gardens planted in 2020. Be sure to check out their event calendar for everything from tours to goat walks.

Unsinkable to Unthinkable: Titanic Passengers at Laurel Hill

April 13, 2023

With an inspired title that captures the event’s horror and irony, a walking tour of Laurel Hill Cemetery scheduled for April 15 will commemorate the famed British ocean liner that tragically sank at the turn of the century, as well as the ship’s passengers who perished and survived.

History's Headlines: Confederate general from Pennsylvania

March 11, 2023

Wednesday, August 14, 1907, was cooler than most summer days in New York. Newspaper headlines shouted of a stock market crash, a strike by telegraph workers, and a friendly meeting between England’s King Edward VII and his cousin, Germany’s Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II, on their yachts. That same day Georgia’s state legislature passed an election law which was written in such a way that would virtually deny the state’s Black citizens the right to vote. The governor announced he would sign it as soon as it got to his desk.

But for residents of 226 West 78th Street the day was marked by a personal tragedy, the death of 82-year-old Martha “Pattie” Thompson Pemberton. Since the death of her husband, Confederate General John C. Pemberton, in 1881, Mrs. Pemberton had lived at the Manhattan home of her daughter, Mrs. Patricia Pemberton Berman, and her stockbroker husband. Although an invalid for the previous eight years, Mrs. Pemberton’s end had come suddenly. The brief obituary noted the funeral would take place on August 16th at Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery where she would be interred beside her husband. The train carrying her remains was scheduled to arrive at the city’s Broad Street Station at 3:10 that afternoon.

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Refreshed With Facade Renovation

March 7, 2023

Among the city’s many, old institutions, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia is not the oldest, but certainly is one of the most venerable. It was founded 1814 as a subscription library before the establishment of public libraries. In addition to providing its members with access to books, the Athenaeum was also chartered to collect historical materials focusing on American arts such as architecture. Today, it houses significant archives of hundreds of thousands of architectural drawings, photographs, and manuscripts.
After occupying several different locations, including a period within the American Philosophical Society, in 1847 the Athenaeum established its current home on Washington Square. Architect John Notman received the commission over notable contemporaries William Strickland and Thomas Ustick Walter. In the prior decade, Notman had planned Laurel Hill Cemetery, the first rural cemetery in the United States designed by an architect, and many tombs and monuments within it. After the Athenaeum, he designed several Episcopal churches of diverse styles, including St. Mark’s Church at 16th and Locust Streets (Gothic Revival), Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square (Romanesque), and St. Clemen’s Church at 2oth and Cherry Streets (Romanesque Revival).

Sharing the Stories of Six Cemeteries

March 2023

The feedback to Season One of “The World’s Greatest Cemeteries” was so “embarrassingly positive” that host and producer Roberto Mighty knew there would be a Season Two. 

“These are massive national parks and museums,” Mighty said. “They are also multi-million-dollar operations and tourist attractions, people come from all over the world. They come to see the graves of their favorite people, are treated to these horticulture masterpieces, arboretums, architecture and landscape. We show how beautiful these cemeteries are. Plus, there’s lots of great stories.”

All six Season Two episodes will be on for free, with no membership required until April 18.

Laurel Hill in Philadelphia and Laurel Hill West in Bala Cynwyd are highlighted in Episode Five. Mighty explores the Medallion Garden and discusses the graves of jazz saxophonist Grover Washington Jr., Civil War General George Meade, inventor Martha Coston and singer Teddy Pendergrass.

World's Greatest Cemeteries on PBS

February 24, 2023

We’re proud and excited to share Laurel Hill has been featured in the most recent season of “World’s Greatest Cemeteries” on PBS! Many thanks to Roberto Mighty and team for highlighting the fascinating history and beautiful grounds of our two cemeteries. You can view our episode online for free now through April 18th.

100 years ago, a big-leaguer known as ‘Icicle’ died on Christmas. A Phillies fan keeps his memory alive.

December 22, 2022

In what is now a Yuletide tradition, Karen Penn dropped by Laurel Hill Cemetery on a cloudy and chilly Monday morning recently to pay her respects, laying fresh Christmas greenery at the grave of a second cousin, three times removed, whom she never met.

This is a special year, because that cousin, Weston Dickson Fisler, died on Dec. 25, 1922, 100 years ago. Wes Fisler was a special relative, because, as Penn discovered while researching her family roots, he’d been a 19th century professional baseball player of note.

And yet, for reasons Penn can’t quite pinpoint, his grave was unmarked until five years ago.

The Hidden History of America’s Cemeteries

October 18, 2022

Journalist Greg Melville says the 144,000 cemeteries across America are time capsules of the country’s past, rich with history but often overlooked. In a new book, he explores graveyards from Colonial Jamestown to the Philadelphia region’s Laurel Hill and what they reveal about religion, race, identity, imagination and more.

Halloween for Grownups: Pop-Up Bars, Spooky Soirées and More Philly Haunts

september 22, 2022

Tours at Laurel Hill Cemetery
There’s no better time of year for a scary stroll than October, and there’s no better place for it than a historic graveyard. Laurel Hill is offering all sorts of spooky tours, including their classic Halloween flashlight tours. See their whole calendar of events and choose a perfectly macabre tour here.

Gravediggers’ Ball
This annual fundraiser of Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery invites guests to come in costume or masquerade attire (and there are costume contests!), so if you’re looking for a spooky and swanky evening for a good cause, this one’s for you. The ticket cost benefits a good cause, but if the $250 price tag is too rich for your blood (Halloween pun intended), there’s also a $95 “Graveyard Shift” option for ages 21 to 40 to attend from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.
$95-$500; October 21st, 7 p.m.-midnight, Masonic Temple, 1 North Broad Street.

Arboretum director testifies on benefits of public gardens to state tourism

september 20, 2022

The committee hearing held last Friday focused on the role and impact of public gardens in tourism in Pennsylvania and was held at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Sclar, the former executive director of the American Public Gardens Association, is the new H.O. Smith Endowed Director of The Arboretum at Penn State.

Sclar noted that an estimated 120 million people visit public gardens across the country every year — almost as much as attendance for all major professional sports combined. An estimated 4.5 million people visit public gardens in Pennsylvania each year, he said.

Also testifying Friday on behalf of the Pennsylvania Public Horticulture Coalition were Keith Kaiser, CEO of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, Nick D’ Addezio, marketing vice president of Longwood Gardens, and Nancy Goldenberg, president and CEO of Laurel Hill, a historic cemetery and garden in Philadelphia. Several regional tourism bureaus, as well as representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development also gave testimony.

Bike DelCo: Pushing the Edges of Possibility

september 20, 2022

In the past half-year, Bike Delaware County has grown to become a regular presence in Delaware County. We have assembled a fourteen-member action team, hosted two rides in the spring and are co-sponsoring at least 3 in the fall, and have begun outlining areas of intervention for safe bicycling–the many “Edges of Possibility” Delco has to offer. Our rides involve routes stitched together through individual trial-and-error, community-generated routes that are gaining increasing Township approvals like the Main Line Greenway, and bona-fide bike trails in the works throughout the county. As a McSweeney’s piece recently implied, we have a lot of work to do to make biking safe in this country, and that includes making bicyclists’ presence known and normal to residents.

In April, a group of about three dozen people gathered in support of the Main Line Greenway, a low-stress, grass-roots bicycle route connecting a variety of side streets and trails in Montgomery and Delaware Counties. The route extends between West Laurel Hill Cemetery on the eastern end and Stoneleigh Gardens on the western end. The group rode the western end of the Greenway, from Haverford College into Lower Merion Ward 10, to Bryn Mawr College, then Rosemont and Villanova, before ending at Stoneleigh and returning through Radnor Township and Haverford Township. We had a wonderful mix of families and students, along with residents from all of the involved townships and boroughs. Special thanks to Lou Savastani, chair of Bike Montco, who volunteered to co-lead the 4/24 ride.

New birding festival set for October in Philadelphia

september 13, 2022

A new birding festival will debut in Philadelphia in October.

Audubon Mid-Atlantic will host the inaugural Philly Birding Weekend over the weekend of October 7-9, featuring some of the city’s iconic green spaces and birds making their fall migration.

As with most birding festivals, the new Philadelphia event will be heavy on birding field trips.

Laurel Hill Cemetery, a 74-acre, historic garden cemetery in the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia, will host a Saturday afternoon walking session. From its overlook over the Schuylkill River, 45 species of birds have been recorded during the month of October.

Your Guide to the 2022 Philadelphia Fringe Festival

september 7, 2022

Death is a Cabaret Ol’ Chum
This perfect segue into the Halloween spirit takes place at Laurel Hill Cemetery, complete with cocktails and music from the likes of Amy Winehouse and Sonny & Cher. Bring a blanket to clutch for what REV Theatre Company calls a “toe-tapping, spine tingling good time.”
September 9th-17th, Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue.

Cemetery Picnics: Try This Victorian Hobby At Laurel Hill

august 28, 2022

A vacation story highlighting a cemetery immediately sounds weird, odd, even creepy. Why exactly would vacationers elect to have a picnic meal in the very shadow of death? For many, it would be more puzzling as Philadelphia is not short of beautiful destinations where a delectable meal can be enjoyed in an ambiance of life in all its dynamic vivacity. In fact, there are some spots, five of them, that those who vacation in Philadelphia should avoid. It turns out that none of them is a cemetery.

Yet, if one is looking for something truly unique while visiting Philadelphia, a detour to Laurel Hill should form part of the travel plans. There’s a lot of intriguing history in this Victorian-era hobby. And the experience itself will be one of a lifetime. Here’s the good news: An hour or two at the cemetery will just be enough.

Cemetery Picnics: Tracing The Puzzling Roots

Less than two hundred years ago, Philadelphians would eat—and then rest in peace—as it were, among those who were also resting in peace. Today it would look bizarre. But in the 19th century, it raised no eyebrows. Established in 1836, Laurel Hill was the scene and theater of this practice, now almost entirely out of vogue. And it wasn’t just in Laurel Hill, or even in the “City of Brotherly Love,” as Philadelphia has come to be known. It was a practice that was taking place all over the United States.

10 Cemeteries Around The World That Are More Beautiful Than Creepy

august 13, 2022

There’s something about a cemetery that seems to stir up emotions in everyone who visits it. Most people are scared of cemeteries because they remind them of the good times they spent with their loved ones. But the narrative is changing because there are a couple of beautiful cemeteries on different continents that prove that cemeteries don’t have to be depressing. With amazing architecture and impressive pieces of art, these cemeteries are sure to make travelers rethink the idea of death.

Laurel Hill Cemetery is a National Historic Landmark in East Falls, Philadelphia. The cemetery features graves of many notable Philadelphians, including Edwin Henry Fitler, Robert Adams Jr., and Henry Disston. Laurel Hill Cemetery is one of Philadelphia’s distinctive tourist destinations because of its magnificent monuments and lovely environs. The 74 acres of the cemetery offer a spectacular view of the Schuylkill River and a variety of sites to hike, bike, and take in the scenery.

Most Haunted Places in Philadelphia

july 16, 2022

 In Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia has a rich history and many haunted spots. The city’s many haunted buildings have old, haunting architecture that leads to ghost sightings. Some of the oldest buildings in the city are particularly haunted, including Eastern State Penitentiary. This article mentions the Betsy Ross House, Laurel Hill Cemetery, and Fort Mifflin. Read on to learn more.

Laurel Hill East

If you’re searching for the most haunted places in Philadelphia, you’re in for a treat. Philadelphia is the oldest city in the country and is home to many renowned ghost stories. From old mansions where ex-wives cried foul to historic cemeteries where fallen soldiers were buried, Philadelphia has more than a few places to explore. You’ll find unmistakable cries at night and even furniture that moves independently.

The cemetery is home to the graves of some of the city’s most prominent people. A mausoleum for a wealthy landowner, such as George W. Childs, is lined with the remains of new money industrialists and financiers. His family plot was next door to another one, the Logan Burial Ground, and he was the joint owner of the Public Ledger. Drexel and Childs later developed a suburban community, Wayne on the Main Line, where they buried each other.

Laurel Hill Announces its New Brand

july 13, 2022

Two of the Philadelphia Region’s Most Historic Cemeteries Get a Facelift
PHILADELPHIA (July 2022) – Historic Laurel Hill Cemetery and West Laurel Hill Cemetery and Funeral Home announced today the release of a brand refresh, including a new name, logo, and website. The new brand, Laurel Hill, is part of a larger strategic planning process of increasing clarity and greater connectivity between the organization’s cemetery services, funeral services, educational programs, and arboretum.

The new brand, rooted in centuries of stewardship and stories while embracing a future of growth and sustainability, unifies Laurel Hill East (Philadelphia, PA), Laurel Hill West (Bala Cynwyd, PA), Laurel Hill Funeral Home (Bala Cynwyd, PA), and the Friends of Laurel Hill. The brand platform is built on the organization’s three foundational pillars of eternal rest, recreation, and civic value.
“Our new brand brings a new dimension to our organization that clearly articulates who we are, what we do, and what differentiates us,” said Nancy Goldenberg, President & CEO of Laurel Hill. “With Laurel Hill, we now have a clear level of consistency across multiple communication channels which we know our audiences will find attractive and useful.”