Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia


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 was built in 1836–39 after the designs of Scottish-born architect and landscape designer John Notman. This view shows the main gate. A man on horseback rides past the cemetery, in which the Gothic-style funerary chapel is visible in the background. Countryside and trees dominate the foreground. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced paintings and prints of Philadelphia and other American cities, including Cincinnati, Saint Louis, and Davenport, Iowa. His works are important historical records of these cities before the era of large-scale industrialization and rapid urban growth.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

J.T. Bowen, Philadelphia


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph, hand-colored ; 13 x 18 centimeters


  • Originally published as plate 20 in Views of Philadelphia, and its vicinity (Philadelphia: Published by J.C. Wild & J.B. Chevalier, Lithographers, 72 Dock Street, 1838). The lithographic stones for the views were acquired by John T. Bowen, who later reissued them with hand coloring. He copyrighted this view in 1840.
  • Digital catalog number: POS 430.3

Last updated: January 8, 2018