Death & Life at Mt. Moriah Cemetery

June 10, 2018 @ 11 AM - 1 PM

Mount Moriah is one of the largest burial grounds in Pennsylvania, and home to some of our city’s finest grave architecture. Trees and vines have engulfed the gravestones in some areas, giving the place the atmosphere of a lost city in the jungle. Almost every style of tomb can be found here, from Egyptian Revival to Art Nouveau. Guests will learn about the role of cemeteries as a place for leisure in the Victorian era, as well as the influence of the Freemasons. Part wilderness and part sculpture-garden, this city of the dead is by turns eerie and poignant. Join Hidden City and the Preservation Alliance as we peel back the canopy and reveal the wonders below.

We will begin at the Gatehouse, the ornate sandstone-clad building designed by Stephen Decatur Button and constructed in 1855 at the cemetery hilltop. By 2014, when the Mount Moriah Cemetery Preservation Corporation took over management, weather, fire, and vandals had taken a severe toll, and the gatehouse was at risk of collapsing before it could be restored. Guests on the June 10 tour will have a chance to hear about the temporary measures taken to stabilize the structure— efforts that were recognized with a 2018 Preservation Achievement Award from the Preservation Alliance.  Special guest Justin Spivey, structural engineer on the stabilization project, will show how the team devised its low-cost “protection in place” approach to limit loss of historic fabric using creative, reversible interventions.

Justin Spivey is a Senior Associate in the Princeton and Philadelphia offices of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, where he specializes in the condition assessment, renovation, repair, and adaptive reuse of existing structures. He has documented historic bridges for the Historic American Engineering Record and has worked with many National Register and National Historic Landmark properties, as well as buildings damaged by natural and man-made disasters. Justin taught preservation engineering at Johns Hopkins University and currently teaches in the Historic Preservation program at the University of Pennsylvania.

This tour is co-hosted by Hidden City Philadelphia and the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

Meet at the main cemetery gate, where 62nd Street dead-ends at Kingsessing Avenue. Use 6191 Kingsessing Avenue for Google Maps directions.


$15 Preservation Alliance or Hidden City Member

$20 Non-Member

$10 Student (must show ID)

Questions? Please email or call 215-546-1146 ext. 4.