“What really fascinates me is the idea of liminality: the joining together of two very different states. You have a kind of intensification of knowledge and emotion... I'm fascinated by ...the coming together of these disparate states of life and death, nature and culture. Cemeteries are the places that those kinds of meetings of the past and the future come to the fore.”
—Keith Eggener, author of Cemeteries, quoted in “Our First Public Parks: The Forgotten History of Cemeteries”
The Philadelphia region is home to an abundance of cemeteries with historical, horticultural and architectural significance. To name just a few, you will find Christ Church Burial Ground, the resting place of Benjamin Franklin; The Woodlands, with elaborate Victorian monuments; and Eden Cemetery, America’s oldest African American public cemetery company and a stop on the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. In this venerable company, Laurel Hill Cemetery is notable for its imaginative efforts to entice the public into its 78 acres along the Schuylkill River through live music, historical tours and lunar strolls. Intriguing entries in the Summer 2013 Calendar of Events include a Concert Atop the Crypts, Cinema in the Cemetery and the 5th Annual Service Car and Hearse Show. A recent grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage will help restore nonprofit Laurel Hill’s historic pedestrian entrance on Kelly Drive encouraging even more interactions in this liminal space known as Philadelphia’s Underground Museum.