- When are you open?
The cemetery is open seven days a week (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM) and closed major holidays. There is no admission fee to visit the cemetery.
- Are there restrooms on site?
Yes. There are public restrooms at the Gatehouse and by the maintenance garage. There are no facilities out on the grounds, however. Our residents don't need them.
- Can I bike or jog through the cemetery?
Yes. There are three miles of paved pathways throughout the cemetery which are perfect for biking, walking or jogging. Rural cemeteries like Laurel Hill preceded public parks and were often used for recreational activities. Today, we encourage such uses of the space.
- Can I walk my dog in the cemetery?
Yes. We encourage visitors to take advantage of Laurel Hill's beautiful park-like setting and enjoy it with their friends and family, both human and animal. Please be respectful and clean up after your pet. All pets must be leashed while inside the cemetery gates.
- Is photography allowed?
Amateur photography is permitted for personal use only. Special written permission for still photography, film and/or video shoots is required, however. Visit our Rules and Regulations page for more information on our photography guidelines. If posting on social media, use the hashtag #laurelhillcemetery and follow our handle @laurelhillcemetery.
- Are picnics permitted?
Yes. We welcome picnickers and have a wealth of fantastic spots to enjoy your meal, with great river views and shady trees for sunny days. Garbage and recycling receptacles are located by the entrances. Please use them.
- Are gravestone rubbings allowed?
Gravestone rubbings are strictly prohibited. Many of our monuments are fragile and can easily be damaged by the pressure caused by rubbing. They're also old and prone to tipping over without much warning. Please avoid sitting, standing or leaning on monuments. We'd much rather have you as a temporary visitor.
- Can I hold my private event at the cemetery?
Yes. We are happy to host your wedding, birthday party, Gothic picnic, etc. at the cemetery. Please contact us for more information and for pricing.
- Do you offer private tours of the grounds?
School groups, organizations, special parties or just friends and families who are interested in taking a personalized tour of the cemetery are welcome. Book a tour with one of our experienced and knowledgeable tour guides. We can also send one of our talented speakers to you, as part of our Speakers Series.
- How accessible is the cemetery?
Laurel Hill is an outdoor historic site and much of our terrain is uneven and/or hilly. We also have numerous groundhog holes that are comparable in size to an adult human's foot (so be careful when touring). However, there are approximately three miles of paved roads and walkways throughout the grounds that are wheelchair accessible and/or easily walkable. Vehicles are also permitted to drive within the cemetery.
If you are attending a service, public program or other event and would like assistance, please contact the office in advance of your visit and we will be happy to accommodate you. Guided tours can often be routed to stay on or near the paved roads.
- Can people still be buried here?
Yes. Laurel Hill Cemetery Company still has graves available for sale and continues to perform burials as needed. If you would like more information about burial policies or if you are interested in becoming a permanent resident, please contact us at 215-228-8200.
- How big is the cemetery?
Laurel Hill's 78 acres hold over 75,000 souls and more than 30,000 monuments.
- When was the first burial at Laurel Hill Cemetery?
The first burial was that of Mercy Carlisle on October 21, 1836. Mercy was a humble Quaker woman who planned her own interment and in so doing started the tradition of burials at Laurel Hill Cemetery.
- What is the largest monument?
The Henry Disston family mausoleum is the largest monument in the cemetery at 625 Square Feet (the structure is 25’ x 25’ and 50’ high). It originally cost $68,000 to build in 1877, which equates to nearly $1.4 Million in 2017 dollars.
- What is the tallest monument?
The Edwin Fitler obelisk which stands at 55 feet tall. It was designed to be 10% the height of the Washington Monument, which was completed about a decade prior to Mr. Fitler’s death.
- Do you have any famous people buried there?
Fame is subjective. All aspects of Philadelphia history – in fact, of American History – are represented at Laurel Hill. A Civil War buff might be impressed to hear that General George Gordon Meade is buried here, while a Phillies fan will instantly recognize the name Harry Kalas. As time goes on, various “celebrities” fall in and out of favor and some of those who used to be favorite stops for our visitors are now scarcely visited at all.
- Is Adrian Balboa buried there?
No... she's a fictional character and actress Talia Shire who played Adrian Balboa is alive and well. However, you can visit Adrian's original prop headstone used in Rocky Balboa (2006) and Creed (2015). Both movies were shot at Laurel Hill. Other major motion pictures filmed on the grounds include Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), Happy Tears (2009), Law Abiding Citizen (2009), and The Nail: The Story of Joey Nardone (2009).
- Am I standing on someone?
Probably. Laurel Hill's land is 99% occupied, so even if there's not a visible headstone you are very likely standing on someone's grave. It is okay. One of the best ways to honor the dead is to visit them. Plus, we tend to believe that our residents enjoy your company.
- Should I hold my breath when I pass by Laurel Hill Cemetery?
It's not recommended. That is just a superstition. Also, given how long the cemetery is, it is potentially very dangerous.
- Is the cemetery haunted?
Many paranormal investigations have been made over the years. The question remains open (and probably always will). Schedule a private investigation with Free Spirit Paranormal Investigators and draw your own conclusion.
- Are you associated with West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, PA?
Yes. We like to think of ourselves as “sister” cemeteries. West Laurel Hill Cemetery was founded 33 years after Laurel Hill Cemetery, in 1869. Prompted by the establishment of Fairmount Park which hemmed in Laurel Hill and prevented any future expansion of cemetery grounds, founder John Jay Smith recognized opportunities across the river where more space was still available. To this day we are two separate cemeteries, with different operations and missions.