Philadelphia – Old City: Christ Church Cemetery

Philadelphia – Old City: Christ Church Cemetery
Christ Church
Image by wallyg
Christ Church Burial Ground, at the southeast corner of 5th Street and Arch Street, is the final resting place of 4,000 members of the Anglican Christ Church including many Colonial, Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary notables. In 1719, Christ Church purchased the two acres of land on the outskirts of town, and it has been used as an active graveyard ever since. The brick wall was first built in 1772, and later re-built in 1927 with much of the original masonry and capstone

In the early 1800s, twenty family vaults were built in the middle of the burial ground along a path from the 5th street gate. These family vaults were built to extend down 36 feet and contain up to 20 family members in each. Many of Philadelphia’s prominent families used these vaults up into the 20th century.

In 1864, the Church warden, Edward Lyon Clark compiled a book of all the inscriptions that were still visible on the fading soft marble markers. Today only 1,300 markers remain and plaques have been placed in front of some of the gravestones that contain the words that once appeared on the now blank headstones.

Among Christ Church Burial Ground’s famous residents are five signers of the Declaration of Independence–Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Hewes, Francis Hopkinson, George Ross, and Dr. Benjamin Rush; Commodore William Bainbridge, Dr. Thomas Bond, Elizabeth and Samuel Powel, Dr. Philip Syng Physick, Commodore William Bainbridge, and James Biddle.

Christ Church Burial Ground National Register #71000062