February 13, 2014 |
You wouldn't think there's much love or sex in a graveyard, but it turns out that Laurel Hill Cemetery has plenty of both. Like the Philadelphia banker's son who married one of America's most beautiful actresses. She dumped him. And the devoted wife who had her heart - her real heart, not a paper cutout - buried next to her first husband. And the Union general who sent the Civil War equivalent of nude selfies to a lover who, after being spurned, published his private yearnings in a book.
May 24, 2013 |
For nearly a century, the Silent Sentinel watched over the graves of Civil War veterans at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Yeadon and Southwest Philadelphia. The bronze figure of a Union soldier clasping the end of a musket stood at rest amid long, neat rows of white marble headstones. Then, as though deserting its post in fall 1970, the statue disappeared. Thieves pulled it from its granite base and tried to sell it to a Camden scrap dealer, who alerted police. Silent Sentinel was recovered, repaired at a Chester foundry, and stored out of public view for more than 40 years, until a secure location could be found and money raised for a granite base.
August 10, 2012 |
Wharton, Morris, Meade, Rittenhouse, and McKean. The names were familiar to Pete Hoskins when he was Philadelphia streets commissioner in the 1980s and '90s. They topped signposts that flashed by as he drove through the city. Hoskins saw the names again while touring Laurel Hill Cemetery as its president and chief executive officer three years ago. They were cut into ornate headstones, obelisks, and mausoleums. And that gave him an idea. Why not tell the stories of these movers and shakers who were honored in Philadelphia by having streets and institutions named after them?
July 13, 2012 |
When Jay Schwartz picked up a reel of film in a Lambertville flea market 20 years ago, he had no idea he was holding the only known visual record of an exhumation spurred by a 20-year court dispute. And fittingly enough, Schwartz will have a public showing of the bizarre movie on Friday, July 13, at Laurel Hill Cemetery, where it was made. Schwartz screened the footage alongside other found home movies a few times over the years, but he never realized what it was depicting.
April 2, 2012
Restoring historic cemeteries As Ed Colimore's article about Mount Moriah Cemetery's demise aptly describes, the loss of permanent care at formerly glorious cemeteries is both a personal and public tragedy ("For cemeteries, an eternal task," March 25). While such losses are still rare, they do remind us of the enormous obligation that goes with the promise of eternal care. Many of us are looking for ways to help restore Mount Moriah to her former glory and bring peace back to the families whose descendants are buried there.
June 30, 2011 |
Since its founding in 1869, West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd has consisted only of a mixed, nondenominational burial ground. That changed Wednesday evening, when the nonprofit cemetery introduced Chesed Shel Emet, a section designated for those of the Jewish faith. The all-Jewish cemetery within 187-acre West Laurel Hill - sister to Laurel Hill Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, in Philadelphia - officially opened with a ribbon-cutting Wednesday. Alexander L. "Pete" Hoskins, president and chief executive officer of West Laurel Hill and Laurel Hill, welcomed a small crowd of Jewish family members to the site and, with Bill Doran, superintendent of both cemeteries, led a brief tour of the new area.
September 30, 2010 |
For decades, a room in the Medical Examiner's Office has been the resting place for Philadelphia residents whose remains have never been claimed. Most were elderly, died from natural causes or illnesses, and were cremated without funeral services or headstones to mark their passing. Last week, 500 of those estimated 3,000 unclaimed remains were laid to rest in picturesque Laurel Hill Cemetery along Kelly Drive, buried in small boxes in one of the graveyard's grassy slopes. In the coming weeks, 1,000 additional remains will be moved there as well.
June 24, 2010 |
It was billed as a dinner to die for, with dishes from an 1876 cookbook edited by Benjamin Franklin's great-granddaughter (crab soup, sirloin roasted on a spit, Scandinavian Almond Cake) and "entertainment" at the grave sites of Philadelphia culinary notables. "Dig In: A Culinary Tour and Class," held June 11, featured dinner by chef Chris Koch at the Marketplace at East Falls, after which two dozen or so daring participants walked across the street with West Chester University English professor Michael W. Brooks for a twilight stroll through Laurel Hill Cemetery, bats and all. For Laurel Hill, which offers programs at least once a month year-round, the culinary venture was a successful first.
June 1, 2010 |
To mark their wedding anniversary, Doug and Audrey Miller of Northeast Philadelphia renewed their sacred vows at one of their favorite spots in the city - among the tombstones at Laurel Hill Cemetery. "We take our 5-year-old daughter there often to spend the day walking and taking pictures. It's such a beautiful place," Audrey Miller said. "For some of the pictures, we posed in front of a mausoleum overlooking the Schuylkill, and they turned out great. " Miller recently submitted her 2008 photos for publication in a 175th-anniversary book that cemetery officials plan to publish in January.
November 27, 2009 |
On leisurely walks through West Laurel Hill Cemetery, George Frank and his wife, Carole, never saw on a headstone a name that sounded Jewish. The couple, who live within blocks of the cemetery, figured the memorial park was a place where only Christians found eternal rest. As Jews, the Franks did not see themselves reflected in the granite monuments they passed. That image of exclusivity has continued to haunt West Laurel Hill despite its nonsectarian roots and openness, said Pete Hoskins, the cemetery's chief executive officer and president.