Laurel Hill is a historical and scenic cemetery off of Ridge Avenue, only a short distance from our campus. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re likely to have seen it from afar while driving on Interstate 76 or Kelly Drive. The cemetery takes place on a sprawling 78 acres full of sculptures, headstones, statues, and intricate mausoleums.
On nice days, you often see people walking their dogs, having picnics, or just strolling along the paths. Laurel Hill is one of very few cemeteries in the country to have National Historic Landmark status. When Laurel Hill opened in 1836, it was intended to be a place to visit one’s dead as an outing, not necessarily to feel somber but to enjoy the time and the beautiful view of the Schuylkill River.
Apart from being a great place to enjoy the outdoors, Laurel Hill also has many events throughout the year on the grounds. Recently I attended a flea market with over forty vendors selling crafts, jewelry, vintage clothing, and other various chachkies. Most of the stands had a gothic or punk rock theme. I saw a lot of Halloween themed merchandise, creepy baby dolls, wall hangings shaped like limbs, and, my personal favorite, bats. The other people frequenting the flea market, even a few in costume, seemed to fit that theme as well. It was a very unique event and a great opportunity to support local artists and peruse merchandise you aren’t likely to find anywhere else. Some of the things my roommate and I bought are pictured below.
Some other events being hosted by the cemetery in the upcoming months include movie nights, tours, exercise classes, and mediums. Specifically, Cinema in the Cemetery is on September 9th, Yoga in the Cemetery is September 16th, and the Rest in Peace 5k is October 7th. October is a big month for the cemetery for obvious reasons, and some of their Halloween-themed events are the Gravediggers Ball on October 14th, Haunted History Tours on October 20th and 21st, performances of Dracula on October 26th-28th, and the Halloween picnic and parade on October 29th. Some events are free, but many require tickets. Tickets can be bought online at Laurel Hill’s website.