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

 

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 Friday, May 6 at 6:00pm, 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  

 

 

NATURE in the NECROPOLIS 

Few sites have more appreciation for its “earth,” and all of the stories and secrets that lie beneath it than Laurel Hill. The resting place claims status as the first garden cemetery in the United States, boasting 78 acres of green space in the middle of the city. Start off your morning at Laurel Hill, taking in its gorgeous river vistas, and learning of its history as a world-renowned arboretum. Participants will also aim to identify the many bird species, trees and horticultural specimens that still populate the site. Share your knowledge or just enjoy nature and the blooming springtime. Bring binoculars if you wish.

 

The walking tour will take place on Saturday, May 7 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; or $9/members. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online

 

Guides: Steve Maurer and Bob Berghaier 

 

 

 

THE GHOSTLY CIRCUS: FIRE and AERIAL THEATRE in the CEMETERY

From the Anastenaria performed in villages in Northern Greece and Southern Bulgaria, to the Native American healing ceremony of the Sacred Fire, to Letuli Olo Misilagi and the Samoan Fire Knife dance; the addition of fire to performances and ceremonies has been a part of many different cultures for centuries. Fire dancing became popular in the United States in the mid-nineties and now this unique art form is coming to Laurel Hill Cemetery.


On Friday, May 13th and Saturday May 14th the Cemetery will partner with 7textures, a creative group of styling and event design, to bring The Ghostly Circus to life. Somewhere between the clouds, the tombs, and Dante’s rings, the artists will build their stage evoking and encompassing the spirit of Laurel Hill with a dance on fire and in the air. This unique, other-worldly show will include fire dancing, aerial performers, theatrical sideshow, and a Dance with the Dead After-Party. Bring your own blankets or beach chairs and enjoy an evening under the stars.

The event will take place on Friday, May 13th and Saturday, May 14th at 8:00pm. Gates open to the public at 7pm. Check-in is at 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 $25/person in advance, or $35/person on the day of the event. Advance reservations are strongly requested. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online

 

 

 

The ART of LAUREL HILL CEMETERY 
Presented in conjunction with The Barnes Foundation, this unique walking tour will examine the art and aesthetics of historic Laurel Hill Cemetery. Participants will be encouraged to look beyond surnames, dates and history, and focus instead on the designed landscape as an aesthetic statement. Join tour guide Ross Mitchell, director of Barnes-de Mazia Education and Outreach Programs, on an exploration of the art found within the cemetery’s most incredible architecture, monuments and mausoleums.
 

The walking tour will take place on Saturday, May 14 at 10am (with a pre-scheduled rain date of Sunday, May 15 at 10am), 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 $25/person general admission and $22/members. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

 

Guide: Ross Mitchell 

 

 

 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, May 14 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; $10/students and seniors; $9/members. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online

 

Guide: Nancy Wright 

 

 

150 ANNIVERSARY of the GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC (Tour and Exhibit Opening) 

 

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was founded in April, 1866 and quickly became among the largest veterans' organization in US history. The group instituted Memorial Day (Decoration Day), supported voting rights for African American veterans, and developed into a formidable force for veterans’ pensions, patriotism, and the interpretation of Civil War history. Laurel Hill contains the graves of many founders and men killed in action, for whom GAR Posts were named after. Join us for a commemorative walking tour and exhibit opening as we mark the 150th anniversary of the organization’s founding.

 

The walking tour will take place on Sunday, May 15 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 or online. 

 

Guides: Andy Waskie and Russ Dodge 

 

 

 

CRYPTIC CRYPTS: EGYPTIAN SYMBOLISM at LAUREL HILL

Hades, Heaven, Valhalla, She’ol, Xibalba—religions, philosophies, mythologies, and cultures all have a name for it: The Afterlife. Humans have been trying to rationalize death since the beginning of time. Ritual and commemoration help the living come to terms with the passing of a loved one. Some of these rituals have survived for thousands of years and can be seen in subtle ways, thousands of miles away from their origination. The Ancient Egyptians were one of the first cultures to establish funerary rituals to help usher the deceased into the afterlife. Though proceeding cultures formed their own beliefs and practices, they sometimes adapted those from earlier religions and mythologies. Fast forward to America in the 1800s; Victorians experienced a resurgence in the popularity of funerary ritual along with a renewed interest in the classics. Walk through any cemetery founded in the 1800s and on monuments and mausolea you may be able to recognize Greek, Roman, and Egyptian influences.

 

On this walking tour through Laurel Hill’s historic tombs, discover ancient symbols and architectural styles that have survived since the time of the pharaohs. Along the way, meet the individuals who revered such symbols enough to eternally memorialize them: like a former defamed Egyptologist, the founder of the Penn Museum of Archaeology, and even Indiana Jones. Afterwards, sip on the drink of the Gods and enjoy Mediterranean-inspired fare in the Cemetery’s historic Gatehouse.

 

The walking tour will take place on Saturday, May 21 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 $12/person. Tickets can be purchased at the door, in advance by phone (215) 228-8200, or online.

 

Guide: Beth Savastana

 

 

 

MEMORIAL DAY VOLUNTEER FLAG PLACEMENT

The General Meade Society of Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, call all Volunteers to assist in preparing for the nation’s Memorial Day commemoration. Those assembled will be assigned to place American flags on the gravesites of Veterans that served in all of our nation’s Wars. As time and manpower permit, and in addition to Laurel Hill, cemeteries covered may include Mount Moriah, Mount Peace and St. James the Less. Free refreshments will be provided to all.

 

The flag placement will take place on Sunday, May 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. 

 

 

 

HISTORY HUNT, FAMILY HIKE and JOURNAL MAKING

There are many ways to learn about and enjoy the wonders of Laurel Hill. This tour of discovery incorporates a history hunt designed specifically for families (with children 7 and older) to work together as teams on a guided hike. The journey of discovery begins at Laurel Hill’s historic gatehouse where participants will create personalized journals filled with clues, riddles, maps and more. Then we’ll go outdoors to explore the oldest section of the cemetery following the clues from the journals. Who will be the first to spot the giant stone microphone? Who is buried in a cave? Can you find the big frog? If you walk ten paces from point A, turn left and look up, what will you see? Fun facts will be shared throughout – and don’t forget to write all you’ve learned in your journal to have a keepsake of your visit.

 

This program will take place on Sunday, May 22 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 $5/person. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online

 

Guide: Nancy Wright 

 

 

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 Friday, May 27 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; $10/students and seniors; $9/members. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online.

 

Guide: Terri Greenberg

 

 

 

THE END OF AN ERA: REMOVING GENERAL MEADE'S NORWAY MAPLE TREE

 

Towering above the unexpectedly humble gravesite of General George G. Meade, victor of Gettysburg, is a giant of a tree. Believed to have been planted in 1852 for the Honorable John Sergeant—Meade’s father-in-law, a Congressman, and founding member of the Whig Party—it was still a modest tree in 1872 when the General was interred in the Sergeant lot. In the ensuing 164 years, the Norway Maple sheltered countless visitors, war heroes, and dignitaries, including Presidents Grant, Hayes, and Harrison.



Though the tree has survived decades longer than expected, it has reached the end of its natural lifespan. The affectionately named "Meade Witness Tree" will be professionally removed by the Cemetery’s arborists John B. Ward & Co on Saturday, May 28. Following the removal will be a public ceremony and reception hosted by The General Meade Society of Philadelphia to mark the occasion.



The event will take place on Saturday, May 28 at 8am. Visitors may 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 to the event is FREE and open to the public; a donation in support of Laurel Hill Cemetery’s work and preservation is suggested and would be much appreciated. For additional information, phone (215) 228-8200.


  

MEMORIAL DAY PARADE, SERVICE and RECEPTION

The traditional Decoration Day service of the Grand Army Meade Post #1 will be recreated at historic Laurel Hill Cemetery, the site of the first Memorial Day Observance in Philadelphia in 1868. The entourage will gather at the resting place of General George Gordon Meade, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, to perform the traditional service honoring all veterans who fell defending the nation. A wreath-laying, speeches and honor guards will enhance the ceremony. The event is co-sponsored by the General Meade Society of Philadelphia, the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery, American Legion Post #405, Post #1 Society, Union League, and Anna M. Ross Camp #1, Sons of Union Veterans. Complimentary beer and refreshments will be served after the service.



The event will take place on Sunday, May 29 at 12pm sharp. 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 to the event is FREE and open to the public; a $5 donation in support of Laurel Hill Cemetery’s work and preservation is suggested and would be much appreciated. For additional information, phone (215) 228-8200 or visit us online.