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Images of America: Laurel Hill Cemetery

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Part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series, Laurel Hill Cemetery has its own book! Written by Carol Yaster, Friends of Laurel Hill & West Laurel Hill Cemeteries board member, and Rachel Wolgemuth, author and historian, this book is filled with black and white photographs spanning the cemetery's history from 1836 to present day. You will see photographs from the archives of the stones and souls of Laurel Hill Cemetery as it discusses the importance of Laurel Hill Cemetery to not only Philadelphia history, but the nation as well. 

Established in 1836, Philadelphia's Laurel Hill Cemetery was one of the earliest rural cemeteries in America. The picturesque views and outstanding horticulture, along with sculptures and monuments designed by notable artists and architects--like Alexander Milne Calder, Alexander Stirling Calder, Harriet Frishmuth, John Notman, and Thomas Ustick Walter--attracted thousands of visitors. Laurel Hill became the desired place of burial for Philadelphia's elite and the final resting place for those with last names like Widener, Wharton, Meade, and Elkins. The cemetery's design was much admired and widely imitated, both locally and nationally. While the 20th century ushered in a steep decline for Laurel Hill, the establishment of a friends group in 1978 and the cemetery's designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1998 signaled a transformation for the cemetery. Laurel Hill entered a new century as a revitalized and relevant institution. Once again, the cemetery is regarded as an important part of the community, a worthy destination for visitors, and a place to share in the stories of the men and women whose lives shaped both Philadelphia and the nation.

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