ABOUT THE
BURIAL GROUNDS

Come visit one of America’s most unique burial grounds, where Benjamin Franklin and other prominent leaders are laid to rest.

The Burial Ground on 5th and Arch in Philadelphia

The Christ Church Burial Ground lie just behind these gates on 5th and Arch Sts. in Old City Philadelphia.

Burial Ground

Christ Church Burial Ground is one of America’s most unique Colonial and Revolution-era graveyards, with 1,400 markers on two beautiful acres right in the heart of historic Philadelphia. The Burial Ground is the final resting place of some of our most prominent leaders, including Benjamin Franklin and four other signers of the Declaration of Independence. Maps of the Christ Church Burial Ground highlight many of the notable people buried here.

The Burial Ground is located at the intersection of 5th and Arch Streets. Plan Your Visit to experience all that the Burial Ground has to offer in Philadelphia!

 


History

Before the establishment of the 5th Street Burial Ground in 1719, Christ Church buried the earliest members of the congregation in the churchyard, a common Christian and European practice. When burials began to take place on the outskirts of cities (largely to prevent disease), and the churchyard became filled, Christ Church purchased two acres of land on the outskirts of town at the corner of 5th and Arch Streets.

Pennies tossed on Ben Franklin's tombstone

Franklin aficionados know to toss pennies on his tombstone in remembrance by his gravesite.

The Burial Ground became the final resting place for over 4,000 members of Christ Church, including five signers of the Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Hewes, Francis Hopkinson, George Ross, and Dr. Benjamin Rush. Also buried on these sacred grounds are many of our nation’s early leaders, prominent lawyers, medical pioneers, military heroes and victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic.

Benjamin Franklin

When Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, he was buried along with his wife Deborah and their two children, Francis and Sarah, in a family plot in the northwest corner of the grounds. In 1858, Franklin’s descendants requested that an opening be placed in the brick wall surrounding the cemetery so the public could see Franklin’s grave day or night. The installation of a metal fence made it much easier for Franklin’s many admirers to toss a penny onto his family plot in honor of his famous words, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Jon Bon Jovi and Christ Church staff at Franklin's grave dedication

Singer Jon Bon Jovi met with members of the Christ Church staff and our Preservation Trust for the Franklin grave dedication.

In December 2005, to honor Franklin’s 300th birthday, Christ Church Preservation Trust constructed a new brick path around the Franklin family grave site. It also added a marble surround that contains the original inscriptions for John Read (Franklin’s father in-law), Francis Franklin and Emma Mary Bache.

Since Franklin’s death in 1790, a simple marble ledger tablet has distinguished his resting place. In 2016, Christ Church Preservation Trust hired architectural conservators to repair a significant crack that threatened the integrity of Franklin’s grave marker. The team also restored other areas of deterioration at the Franklin family plot, including the Franklin tablet’s marble face: for years, the practice of throwing pennies at Franklin’s grave — an homage to the adage “a penny saved is a penny earned” — pitted the marble surface.

The Trust raised $76,000 for the work, an amount that included funds from the University of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Florence Gould Foundation, and a successful crowdsourcing campaign largely funded by rocker Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea.

At a public ceremony in April 2017, the Trust unveiled the restored family plot.


Hours and Admission

The Burial Ground is open every day weather permitting on Monday through Saturday from 10 AM–4 PM, and on Sunday from 12 PM–4 PM (weather permitting).

Guided tours are presented  Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM–3:30 PM, Sundays from 12 PM–3:30 PM, and at other times with an advanced reservation.

Burial Ground Admission

  • $1  Children (ages 5–12)
  • $3  Adults
  • $15  Groups up to 10 people

Admission Fee with Guided Tours

  • $3  Children (ages 5–12)
  • $8  Adults
  • $30  Groups up to 10 people
  • Our guided tour “Revolutionary Americans” is available for an additional fee of $3 for adults and $1 for students.

All proceeds from sales, admissions and guided tour fees are used for site preservation.

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