HAVING THE LAST WORD:

EPITAPHS and GRAVE WRITINGS of LAUREL HILL

When Theodore Jaeckel lost his young wife in 1926, he wrote an epitaph befitting of their undying love. “Lovely, loving and beloved, life to her was a wondrous adventure” it began. “Life is Eternal.  Death is merely a Change of Condition.” proclaims the monument of famed spiritualists, Levi Franklin and Catherine Drinkhouse Smith. The well-known poem on the headstone of cherished Phillies announcer, Harry Kalas; begins with “Baseball is about going home, and how hard it is to get there and how driven is our need.” Words move us as much in death as they do in life; defining us, telling our stories, and breathing movement into our experiences. Epitaphs are a final opportunity to make a statement and be they biographical, humorous, sentimental or religious; they give us great insight into the person resting below. Join us for a walking tour of Laurel Hill Cemetery that explores the power of these words carved in stone and the interesting lives of the people who chose them.

 

This walking tour will take place on Sunday, April 6 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; or $10/students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance by phone (215) 228-8200 or online.

 

Guide: Alex Smallberger

 

 



PATRIOTS, POLITICIANS and PLAYWRIGHTS:

PHILADELPHIA LAWYERS at LAUREL HILL

 

For over 200 years, the term "Philadelphia lawyer" has been an iconic description of an attorney who goes the extra mile, maintains the highest ethical standards and, like Rocky Balboa stepping up to Apollo Creed; takes on challenges that lesser lawyers stay away from. Laurel Hill is home to a number of the first "Philadelphia lawyers" as well as others whose courtroom skills and colorful personalities made them among the most talked-about attorneys of their day. Meet the man who investigated Benedict Arnold before he turned traitor, the attorney who was involved in the Court’s first argument concerning slave rebellions, and the prosecutors who found second lives as novelists and poets. They may have made their final arguments, but you can ensure their stories live on during this spirited walking tour of their final place of rest.

 

This walking tour will take place on Saturday, April 12 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; or $10/students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance by phone (215) 228-8200 or online.

 

Guide: Steve Chawaga

 



LIBERTY or DEATH:

REVOLUTIONARY WAR HEROES 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 13 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; or $10/students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance by phone (215) 228-8200 or online.

 

Guide: Russ Dodge

 

 



MONTHLY FOURTH FRIDAY TOUR SERIES:

HOT SPOTS and STORIED PLOTS

In life and in death, we all have stories to tell. 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. “Hot Spots and Storied Plots” will be presented monthly as part of Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Fourth Friday tour series, which take place on the fourth Friday of every month at 10:00am.



April’s walking tour will take place on Friday, April 25 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 $8/person general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance by phone (215) 228-8200 or online

 

 
 



ASTRONOMY NIGHT:

STARGAZING from the CEMETERY

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

 

 

SHADES OF ANIMALS AT LAUREL HILL

Animal influence is evident throughout culture –in art, sport, business, home, even personal names—and this inescapable connection to the non-human animal world infuses Laurel Hill Cemetery. From the man who was literally “dinner of shark” to the lions, birds, and other creatures adorning monuments at Laurel Hill; learn about the Cemetery’s animal magnetism as we traverse the North, South, and Central sections. We will navigate undulating grounds, ascend and descend terraced lands all while getting acquainted with the Cemetery’s animal “spirit” so please come prepared with comfortable footwear. 



This walking tour will take place on Saturday, April 26 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; or $10/students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance by phone (215) 228-8200 or online.

 

 



EXPLORER SUNDAY:

NATURE in the NECROPOLIS

What kind of nature can you find in a cemetery? As the first garden cemetery in the United States, Laurel Hill has plenty to share. On this nature walk, along with stories about some of our unique residents; you will identify some of the many interesting birds, occasional mammals, trees and plants that call the cemetery home. Finish by making your very own nature journal based on observations from your walk. As part of the Philadelphia Science Festival’s (www.philasciencefestival.org) Explorer Programs, this hands-on, interactive tour is recommended for middle-school aged children. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Families with younger children are welcome to visit the Cemetery on the same day and complete a self-guided nature scavenger hunt. Bring your own binoculars.

 

This walking tour and activity will take place on Sunday, April 27 at 9:30am and 2:00pm, 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.

 

Admission to the event is FREE and open to the public; however, reservations are requested. For additional information or to reserve your space, phone (215) 228-8200 or email aj@thelaurelhillcemetery.org. 

 

Guides: Steve Maurer and Bob Berghaier