Special Projects

Legacy Tree Fund

Legacy Tree Fund

Established in 1836 as the second garden-designed cemetery in the United States, Laurel Hill is now the nation’s first National Historic Landmark cemetery. John Jay Smith, the site’s founding visionary, had planned for Laurel Hill to be a school of instruction in architecture, culture, landscape gardening, arboriculture and botany. By 1844, Smith had planted 2,400 trees on the cemetery’s initial 32-acre tract. His horticultural efforts were admired by the leading landscape gardeners of the time. In 1849, Andrew Jackson Downing wrote in The Horticulturalist, “Laurel Hill is especially rich in rare trees… it is a better arboretum than can easily be found elsewhere in the country.”

The Legacy Tree Fund is administered by the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to its preservation. To mark the 175th anniversary of Laurel Hill in 2011, 175 new specimen trees were planted throughout the site. These plantings represent the first piece in a Landscape Restoration Project that will not only be years in the making, but that will require permanent upkeep. The Fund was established to ensure such maintenance, not only restoring Laurel Hill Cemetery’s landscape to its original grandeur, but also providing for its perpetual care.

The Legacy Tree Fund offers individuals an opportunity to make a meaningful gift that will be an enduring tribute to a loved one - a living, growing expression and visible reminder of that person. All gifts to the Fund are tax-deductible and will be used to purchase new trees and/or to maintain existing trees, thus restoring and conserving Laurel Hill Cemetery’s status as a world-renowned arboretum.

Please review our Legacy Tree Fund Brochure for terms and conditions on dedicating a tree, or to complete our Pledge Form. Additionally, this donation can be made online HERE. For more information about supporting the fund, please call our office at 215.228.8200 or email info@thelaurelhillcemetery.org.