Bala Cynwyd Victorian-era Cemetery Offers Views of Horticulture and Guided History Tours

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Laurel Hill Cemetery
Images via Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Laurel Hill Cemetery is picturesque with elaborate tombs and headstones, where those enjoy solitude and viewing the lush horticulture.

Laurel Hill Cemetery
Images via Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Overlooking the Schuylkill River, one can see ornate Victorian-era headstones and mausoleums that hold former wealthy elite Philadelphians, entitled Millionaire’s Row.

“When John Smith created Laurel Hill in 1836 he advertised this as a place where the public could come to escape the city, breath in the fresh air, have picnics, and enjoy the outdoors,” says Nancy Goldenberg, Laurel Hill’s president and CEO. “The cemetery is a precursor of public parks.”

“Victorians had a lot to say,” says Nancy Goldenberg, president and CEO of the cemetery, which is renowned for its spectacular mausoleums and grave markers. “They just preferred not to say it out loud. They used symbols — obelisks, wreaths, urns, anchors, and other icons — to say what they didn’t speak.”

In staying with Smith’s vision, Laurel Hill in Bala Cynwyd hosts a nice variety of activities including tours, concerts, and seminars.

There’s also themed-guided tours one could take, or one could wander about, discovering hidden spots among the cemetery (In some areas, a tour is required, please check the website for information.)

The cemetery is located at 3822 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia.

Read more about Laurel Hill Cemetery in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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