DESIGNING for the DEAD: THE ART and ARCHITECTURE of LAUREL HILL CEMETERY

 

Noted architects like John Notman, William Strickland, Frank Furness, John J. McArthur, C.C. Zantzinger, Horace Trumbauer and Napoleon LeBrun competed fiercely for the chance to design for the dead. Join us on a walking tour of Laurel Hill Cemetery, where we will see monuments created by these early architects, as well as artists such as Alexander Milne Calder, his son Alexander Stirling Calder, and sculptress Harriet Frishmuth, whose works grace many of Laurel Hill’s memorials. Tour stops will also include the gravesites of portraitist Thomas Sully and watercolorist William Trost Richards. The tour will examine changing tastes and fashions in grave markers over the past two centuries, from the classical obelisks and urns of the Federal period, to the richly decorated crosses of the Gothic Revival, to the massive mausoleums of the Gilded Age.



This walking tour will take place on Saturday, April 2 at 1:00pm, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.

 
The cost is $12/person; $10/students and seniors; $9/members. Tickets can be purchased at the door online
 
Guide: Tom Keels 
 
 
 

LAUREL HILL: THE HOT SPOTS and STORIED PLOTS 

 

In life and in death, we all have stories to tell and what better place to hear tales of wonder than Philadelphia’s most famous home of the dead? Join Laurel Hill Cemetery for an informative overview of Laurel Hill’s long and colorful history, which will include many of the marble masterpieces, stunning views and legendary stories that afford the cemetery its WOW factor. This is the perfect tour for first-time visitors to Laurel Hill, and anyone else who enjoys beautiful art, scenic nature and fascinating history. “The Hot Spots and Storied Plots” will be presented monthly as part of Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Fourth Friday and Second Saturday tour series. 

 

The walking tour will take place on Saturday, April 9 at 10:00am, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse. 
 
The cost is $12/person general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.
 
Tour Guide: Nancy Wright
 

YOU GIVE ME SPRING FEVER: THE LOVE STORIES OF LAUREL HILL

This program has been postponed due to weather. The rescheduled date is FRIDAY, MAY 6th at 6PM

 

Every April, Laurel Hill’s vast, expressive landscape comes alive again. The bloom of her flowers, the song of her birds and, soon enough, the buzz of her bees signal the dawn of another springtime. We, too, are emerging from winter’s slumber, our senses heightened by the heat of vernal breezes, a new “spring” in our step, perhaps a flutter in our heart. “It's spring fever,” once explained Mark Twain, and “it just fairly makes your heart ache.” Indeed, writers spanning eras and oceans have waxed poetic about the seemingly innate connection between springtime and love. Even Shakespeare observed that “Sweet lovers love the spring.”

 

What better place to fall in love with springtime all over again than amid the natural wonders of Laurel Hill Cemetery? Let sun warm your bones and love stories warm your heart in this walking tour celebrating the season. The program will feature tales of love as varied as the souls from which they sprung. Some love stories are eternal, while some must end. Still, others end badly. After all, devotion and desire sway destinies as much as greed and betrayal. Laurel Hill’s love stories can be moving, tantalizing and entertaining all at once.

 

Join us for a reception following the program, and toast to the enduring promise of springtime. Sip on a refreshing tonic of Spring Love Punch prepared for the occasion, while delighting in a vibrant array of hors d’oeuvres and sweets.

 

The walking tour will take place on Saturday, April 9 at 1:00pm, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse. 
 

The cost is $20/person general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online. 

 

Guide: Gwen Kaminski  

 

 

 

TAILS FROM the CRYPT: ANIMAL LOVER'S TOUR and DOG WALK
 

In 1867, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was only the second humane society to have organized in the nation. The group was formed in Philadelphia, and paved the way for dozens of other rescue organizations dedicated to the city’s furry friends. Pet-friendly Laurel Hill Cemetery encourages the public to bring their animals along for this springtime walking tour. Stories and stops will include one of the first court cases to rule against animal cruelty, pets memorialized in stone, and the woman who bestowed a portion of her will to her dearest dogs.

 
 

Don’t have a dog to bring with you? PAWS has one for you! They will be bringing an adoptable to the tour and can answer any questions you might have about rescue animals and adoption. Bonejour Pet Boutique will be supplying treats to all canine attendees.
 
The walking tour will take place on Saturday, April 16 at 1:00pm, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.  
 
The cost is $12/person general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online. 
 
Tour Guide: Paul Sookiasian 
 
 
 
EXPLORATIONS and EXHUMATIONS (An Atlas Obscura Day Event)
 
Philadelphia is a city rich in unusual and strange locations, home to hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path secrets. One such place is none other than Laurel Hill Cemetery, the nation’s first National Historic Landmark Cemetery, abounds with art, architecture, nature and stunning river views. An outdoor sculptural garden, horticultural treasure, and a truly unique historical resource, it’s much more than just a cemetery. There are countless stories to be told about its’ residents – brave military heroes, powerful captains of industry, selfless philanthropists – but what about the tales of the more peculiar spirits? On Atlas Obscura Day, follow your curiosity off the beaten path and down into a crypt. You’ll have guaranteed dinner conversation for years to come. 


The walking tour will take place on Saturday, April 16 at 5pm, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.
 
The cost is $30/person general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online via Atlas Obscura’s website.
 
Tour Guide: Sarah Hamill 
 


 
 
LIBERTY OR DEATH: THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR PATRIOTS of LAUREL HILL
 
The American Revolution began with the first exchange of fire between British and American forces at Lexington on April 19. Tensions building between the colonists and the British authorities had finally boiled over. “Give me liberty or give me death!” is the now famous line often attributed to Patrick Henry and his 1775 speech. But what about the Founding Fathers and patriots who truly did give their lives for that freedom we hold so near and dear to our hearts? Join us as we hear their rousing stories of victory, tragedy and revolution from their final places of rest here at Laurel Hill. 

 

The walking tour will take place on Sunday, April 17 at 1:00pm, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.

 

The cost is $12/person; $10/students and seniors; or $9/members. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online

 

Tour Guide: Russ Dodge

 

 

 

THE HOT SPOTS and STORIED PLOTS

 

In life and in death, we all have stories to tell and what better place to hear tales of wonder than Philadelphia’s most famous home of the dead? Join Laurel Hill Cemetery for an informative overview of Laurel Hill’s long and colorful history, which will include many of the marble masterpieces, stunning views and legendary stories that afford the cemetery its WOW factor. This is the perfect tour for first-time visitors to Laurel Hill, and anyone else who enjoys beautiful art, scenic nature and fascinating history. “The Hot Spots and Storied Plots” will be presented monthly as part of Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Fourth Friday and Second Saturday tour series. 

 

The walking tour will take place on Friday, April 22 at 10:00am, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse. 

 

The cost is $12/person general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online.

 

Tour Guide:  Lora Lewis

 

 

 

ASTRONOMY NIGHT: STARGAZING from the CEMETERY (a Philadelphia Science Festival Event) 

This program has been postponed due to weather. The rescheduled date is SATURDAY, APRIL 23 at 7:30PM.

 

Grab a blanket and take a tour of the cosmos with local astronomers. As part of the Philadelphia Science Festival (www.philasciencefestival.org), over 20 venues in and around the city will play host to astronomy night star parties with amateur astronomers coming out en mass with their telescopes to show locals the wonders of the night sky. If you have your own telescope or binoculars, bring them along! Don’t forget to bring your own blankets, beach chairs, beverages and/or snacks! Laurel Hill will also offer a raffle, and an array of merchandise for sale. Relaxing and stargazing from Philly’s most ethereal site = a perfect way to end the week!


Astronomy Night at Laurel Hill Cemetery will take place on Friday, April 22. Gates open at 7:30pm. Visitors can enter through Laurel Hill’s Gatehouse at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.

 

Admission is FREE and open to the public. For additional information, phone (215) 228-8200.

 

 

 

BLOODLETTING and BANDAGES: 19th CENTURY MEDICAL HISTORY (a Philadelphia Science Festival Event)  

SOLD OUT! 

Philadelphia has long been on the “cutting edge” of some of our greatest advances in history and the medical field is no exception. This walking tour will highlight not only various members of the 19th century medical community, but Philadelphia’s role in pioneering practices and innovations that influenced medicine throughout the world up until the present day.

 

As part of the Philadelphia Science Festival’s (www.philasciencefestival.org) Explorer Programs, this hands-on, interactive tour is recommended for children ages 10 and up.

 

The program will take place on Sunday, April 24 from 1:00-3:00pm, departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.

 

The cost is $5/person at the door; or FREE for those who register in advance. 

 

Tour Guide: Russ Dodge 

 

 

 

A RURAL MASTERPIECE: LAUREL HILL CELEBRATES 180 YEARS

 
In 1836 a young Scottish architect by the name of John Notman won a competition to design the very first garden cemetery of its kind in the United Sates. His winning plan drew inspiration from the nearby Schuylkill River and surrounding rural landscape—some of the very characteristics that Laurel Hill’s founders sought when selecting a suitable location to build a city for the dead. The newly designed site blended incredible scenic views with art and nature, rendering it a peaceful respite for the living and a sacred burial space for the dead.
 
180 years later, Laurel Hill continues to maintain its identity as a historic site, arboretum, classroom, park, sculpture garden, and of course, the final resting place of over 75,000 notables and ordinary citizens who have impacted local and national history.
 
In celebration of Laurel Hill’s 180th anniversary in 2016, this commemorative walking tour of the grounds will highlight the cemetery’s unique history, landscape and beauty. A reception with light refreshments will be held in the Medallion Garden following the tour, along with special activities and a photo booth.  
 
The program will take place on Saturday, April 30 at 1pm departing from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse.  
 
The cost is $20/person general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.