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Designing for the Dead: Art and Architecture at Philadelphia Cemeteries

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Athenaeum of Philadelphia

219 South 6th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

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An illustrated lecture by Thomas Keels, cemetery guide and author of Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries

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When Laurel Hill, Philadelphia’s first rural cemetery, was founded in 1836, it represented a gold mine for local architects. Laurel Hill’s managers held a design competition for its gatehouse and grounds, drawing entries from William Strickland, Thomas Ustick Walter, and the dark horse winner, a young Scotsman named John Notman. Soon other architects were competing fiercely for the opportunity to design for the dead. Since Laurel Hill served as an arboretum and art museum as well as a burial ground for Philadelphia’s upper crust, it provided an outdoor laboratory where leading designers could display their talents to potential customers.

Reception to follow.

Free for Athenaeum Members. Non Members $15

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Athenaeum of Philadelphia

219 South 6th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

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