Christ Church Burial Ground
Visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and other early American leaders
Steps from the Independence Visitor Center, Christ Church Burial Ground is a must-visit during your trip to Historic Philadelphia.
Explore the historic cemetery and learn about the lives of the men, women and children buried here. They include signers of the Declaration of Independence and other leaders as well as ordinary citizens. Benjamin Franklin and his wife Deborah are buried here, as is the man who dug their grave.
The Franklins’ grave is easily the most visited, as seen by the large amount of pennies which are thrown onto Benjamin Franklin’s grave by visitors each day as a symbol of good luck, and a nod to Franklin’s motto that “a penny saved is a penny earned.”
Others 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 identified with markers where the original inscriptions are gone. A book of 50 biographies is available for purchase at Christ Church.
Christ Church 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 then in existence.
The burial ground was reopened to the public in 2003 after being closed for the last 25 years.
Christ Church Burial Ground is closed in January and February. For complete visitor information, including hours and tour frequency, visit their website.
The names of some of the people buried here now grace familiar Philadelphia streets like Bainbridge, Camac, and Willing.
People throw pennies onto Benjamin Franklin’s grave as a symbol of good luck, and a nod to Franklin’s motto that “a penny saved is a penny earned.”
Buy Tickets Online
Purchase tickets for the Christ Church Burial Ground in advance of your visit. Click the button below to buy tickets online at the Independence Visitor Center.
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