Laurel Hill Cemetery (Founded 1836)
Various Artists (n.d.)

  • 3822 Ridge Avenue (Huntingdon Street to Allegheny Avenue)
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00AM-4:30PM and Saturday-Sunday 9:30AM-4:30PM
  • Contact Laurel Hill Cemetery at 215-228-8200 for additional information

Laurel Hill Cemetery was founded in 1836 as a nonsectarian alternative to Philadelphia’s crowded, inner-city churchyards of the early nineteenth century. Intended for use by the living, as well as the dead, the cemetery’s design takes advantage of scenic Schuylkill River vistas, supported by the addition of winding paths and rare horticultural specimens. The work of noted sculptors and architects such as Alexander Milne Calder, Harriet Frishmuth and Thomas Ustick Walter adorn the grounds, which are consecrated by the remains of notables including General George Gordon Meade, Frank Furness, Thomas Sully, David Rittenhouse and Harry Kalas. In 1998, Laurel Hill became the first cemetery in the United States to be honored as a National Historic Landmark, and today remains true to its original purpose as an educational, recreational and aesthetic public resource.


Nearby artworks: 

Old Mortality (c. 1836), James Thom, North Laurel Hill, in small building near entrance gate



Laurel Hill Cemetery

Vimeo Video


Voices heard in the program:


Gwen Kaminski is Director of Development and Programs at Laurel Hill Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark founded in 1836.

Dr. David Horwitz is Laurel Hill Cemetery’s longest serving tour guide and a longtime history professor at the Community College of Philadelphia. He will be buried at Laurel Hill, and has already erected his own monument in the cemetery.

Peter “Bill” Doran is the Superintendent of Laurel Hill Cemetery. He has worked on the grounds since his immigration from Ireland in 1985, and is an expert on the cemetery’s monuments and landscapes.

John Madsen is a retired Navy man whose father is buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery. He regularly brings his grandson, Tony, and his dogs to visit the gravesite, and walks for hours marking the gravesites of Veterans with American flags.

Tony Madsen is the grandson of John Madsen.

Segment Producer: Bruce Schimmel