Just a stone?s throw away from other historical places in Philadelphia, the Christ Church Burial Ground is an intriguing place to wander around and discover, especially for enthusiasts of colonial history. The cemetery is located beside a historical church also called Christ Church. The burial ground spans 81 hectares/ 2 acres and was initially intended to make the church?s own graveyard in 1719.
Usually, what makes a burial ground or a cemetery notable are the persons buried beneath its grounds. One popular person can put a cemetery in the popularity radar. However, the Christ Church Burial Ground is home to not just one, but 4,000 remarkable individuals who played a role in America?s early history. Among the gallant Philadelphians buried here include five signatories of the Declaration of Independence. They are joined by other remarkable names in their fields such as science, law and medicine.
Other than the famous Philadelphians buried in Christ Church Burial Ground, tombs of ordinary citizens can also be found here including a number of those who perished in 1793 due to the Yellow Fever epidemic. The Christ Church Burial Ground was a popular graveyard until the 1990s so generations of many Philadelphia clans are buried here.
But of course, the graveyards of the more famous individuals are more pronounced and more visited. The most viewed grave in Christ Church Burial Ground is the grave of United States? former president Benjamin Franklin who passed away in 1790. His grave sits beside Deborah his wife and their children Sarah and Francis. Benjamin Franklin?s grave can be viewed all day even without entering the cemetery as it is fenced with metal.
Aside from being former president, Franklin was also a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. He is joined at Christ Church Burial Ground by co-signatories George Ross, Dr. Benjamin Rush, Joseph Hewes and Francis Hopkinson. The other notable people who rest here are those who fought in the Revolutionary War as well as World War I, pioneering Pennsylvania government officials, poets and writers.
The Christ Church Burial Ground has started welcoming visitors every day since 2003. However, there are days that the cemetery is closed during January and February. The burial ground has been well maintained through the efforts of the church and they regularly recondition vaults and markers for the guest to better appreciate the graveyard. Visitors can engage in a guided tour. The tour guides can narrate the rich history of the burial ground. Self-guided tours can also be done and maps are always available. There?s a minimal entrance fee to the cemetery.