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Where the Dead Remain

Broad Street is not the only area that remains partially untouched. Philadelphia is home to many parks and leisure areas that have escaped demolition throughout the years.

Laurel Hill Cemetery still sits over a large plot of land overlooking the Schuylkill River. While Laurel Hill West sits nestled in Bala Cynwyd, a historically affluent part of the Philadelphia region. The original concept according to environs, was to “offer a resting-place which should be theirs forever, without fear of molestation or disturbance by the ever-lengthening city streets and the ever-growing city trade…” At a time where the city disturbed grave-sites often to build, Laurel Hill offered assurance you would remain and those that wished to visit, could do so in a peaceful and monumental setting. A charming part of the set of lithographs is scenes looking over the river. The same view can be seen today, complete with rowers using the river for exercise.

We can conclude from environs list of cemeteries, there was a tendency to keep cemeteries that offered a resting place to the elite and had a park design. Many of the cemeteries with a “rural aspect” such as Monument Cemetery, were demolished. And although Laurel Hill was also considered rural at the time, it’s large grandeur and impressive burial list most likely kept it safe. Another indicator of the value of the wealthy, even after death.

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