General View of Laurel Hill Cemetery


In the 1830s, a group of influential Philadelphians wanted to establish a rural cemetery that would be naturalistic, serene, and in genteel seclusion. They settled on Laurel Hill at 3822 Ridge Avenue, the former estate of merchant Joseph Sims, which had rocky bluffs and spectacular views and was about six kilometers from the city center. The cemetery, built in 1836–39 after the designs of Scottish-born architect and landscape designer John Notman, is seen in this bird's-eye view of part of the grounds. This view shows horse-drawn carriages and a hearse approaching and horse-drawn wagons parked in front of the main gate. Tombs, monuments, and a Gothic-style chapel line the landscape of the cemetery. The print is by Edward J. Pinkerton, partner in Pinkerton, Wagner & McGuigan, a Philadelphia lithographer active in the 1840s. The firm mostly produced book and periodical illustrations and experimented early with chromolithography. The lithograph appeared as the frontispiece in the Guide to Laurel Hill Cemetery in 1844.

Last updated: January 8, 2018