Laurel Hill Cemetery Tour

Philadelphia Weekly

July 9, 2008


Laurel Hill Cemetery Tour, Chikara Pro, Uhuru Solidarity Flea Market at Clark Park and Inventos: Hip Hop Cubano.

»picnic tour

The Cemetery and the River: A Tour and BYOF Picnic Overlooking the Schuylkill

Sun., July 13, noon. $20. Laurel Hill Cemetery: The Underground Museum, 3822 Ridge Ave. 215.228.8200. www.theundergroundmuseum.org

Defying countless booms, crashes and “adjustments,” one real estate industry truth has remained self-evident throughout history: Location is everything. When Laurel Hill Cemetery’s founders were vetting potential plots for the grandiose graveyard, proximity to the Schuylkill River was considered an absolute necessity. Incredibly, this determination wasn’t borne of a great notion to streamline deliveries by floating corpses from Fairmount to the Falls like so much Oregon timber steered by the Schuylkill’s mighty yet predictable currents. Rather the riverside stipulation stemmed from decidedly more prosaic plans, namely providing picturesque scenery to mollify mourners and attract tourists. Additionally, easy access from shore to sepulcher offered the bereaved the option to roll straight gangsta, riding to interments on steamboats pimped out with 20-foot paddlewheels. The planners’ insistence on putting their politicians and patriots to rest in such idyllic environs proves that even before the Industrial Revolution gained a full head of steam, people were already just dying for primo waterfront digs. Sunday’s tombstone tour traces the (presumably) more historically accurate origins of the nationally recognized historic landmark and concludes with a BYOF picnic on its hallowed grounds. Bring your own … Fulton? Fife? Financier? (Joshua Valocchi)

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