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Christ Church Burial Ground

Visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and other early American leaders

Christ Church Burial Ground

Visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and other early American leaders at the Christ Church Burial Ground. Credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Description

Overview

Steps from Independence Visitor Center, Christ Church Burial Ground is a must-visit during your trip to Historic Philadelphia.

Inside its gates lay the graves of many historical leaders, including signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as ordinary citizens of which you can learn about upon visiting.

Benjamin Franklin and his wife Deborah are buried here, as is the man who dug their grave. The Franklins’ tombstones are easily the most visited, as seen by the large amount of pennies which are thrown onto Benjamin Franklin’s burial site. Not only a nod to Franklin’s motto that “a penny saved is a penny earned,” this is considered a symbol of good luck, so be sure to bring along a few cents if you plan on making a trip to the grounds.

Others buried here include John Dunlap, who printed the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, composer and poet Francis Hopkinson and medical pioneers Dr. Benjamin Rush and Dr. Philip Syng Physick. Divided into quadrants, the ground is mapped and plots are identified with markers where the original inscriptions are gone. A book of 50 biographies is available for purchase at Christ Church.

History

Christ Church, located three blocks away, acquired this burial ground “on the outskirts of town” in 1719 after its churchyard cemetery was full. In 1772, the church built the brick wall, which was rededicated in 1927. In 1864, parishioner Edward Clark, concerned about the deterioration of the headstones, created a plot plan and recorded every inscription in existence at that time.

The burial ground was reopened to the public in 2003 after being closed for the last 25 years.

Other Information

Christ Church Burial Ground is closed in January and February. For complete visitor information, including hours and tour frequency, visit their website.

Insider Tip

The names of some of the people buried here now grace familiar Philadelphia streets like Bainbridge, Camac, and Willing.

Kids’ Stuff

People throw pennies onto Benjamin Franklin’s grave as a symbol of good luck and as a nod to Franklin’s motto that “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

Ticketing and More Information

For more information on Christ Church Burial Ground and to purchase tickets, click the button below.

More on Christ Church Burial Ground

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