Language of the Dead
Victorian Funerary Symbolism
Victorian Philadelphians loved visual symbolism, and even their simplest grave markers are likely to be ornamented by ivy (for eternal life), lilies (for resurrection) or hour glasses (for brevity of life). Oftentimes, the symbolism is both lavish and individualized. A civic reformer is memorialized with a bas-relief showing the Schuylkill Canal and the Philadelphia Water Works. A prison reformer is celebrated with a grand model of Moyamensing Prison. A shattered column, a cavalry officer’s sword and a pair of spurs mark the resting place of one of the first soldiers to die at the Battle of Little Big Horn, infamously known as Custer’s Last Stand. A mother who died in childbirth is compellingly depicted clasping her two dead babies. Nineteenth-century Philadelphians understood Laurel Hill not only as a cemetery, but also as a vast sculptural garden and retreat. Accordingly, they came by the thousands to read the symbolic messages that the dead had left for the living.
The tour will take place on Saturday, December 7 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. Reservations are suggested. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance by phone (215) 228-8200 or online.
Guide: Michael Brooks, Ph.D.
Monthly Fourth Friday Tour Series
Hot Spots and Storied Plots:
Join Laurel Hill Cemetery for this 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. BRAND NEW “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.
December’s walking tour will take place on Friday, December 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 $8/person general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance by phone (215) 228-8200 or online.
Guide: Sonia Krutzke
General Meade Birthday Celebration
The annual General Meade Birthday Celebration will mark the 198th anniversary of the birth of General George G. Meade, commander of the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg. A parade of Civil War re-enactors, civilians in period attire, special dignitaries, heritage groups and participants will advance to Meade’s final resting place and memorialize his services to his nation. A 21-gun salute and champagne toast will cap off the program at graveside, and will be followed by a reception in the Cemetery Gatehouse. A tour of historic Laurel Hill will be offered following the festivities (weather permitting). This year holds special significance as we continue to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.
The event will take place on Tuesday, December 31 at 12:00pm, 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.
Free and open to the public. For more information, call (215) 228-8200.
Guide: Anthony Waskie, Ph.D.
|contact site map|