The St. Patrick's Day Tour
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - March 9, 2012 (WPVI) -- History buffs have long prized cemeteries as a valuable resource. A hundred years ago, it was common for families to visit the graves of departed loved ones on a regular basis, even picnicking on weekend days.
Saturday being St. Patrick's Day, you can get a taste...literally...of these forgotten traditions at Laurel Hill Cemetery on Ridge Avenue bordering Fairmount Park.
The cemetery, a certified historic site, is 175 years old. The program, called the St. Patrick's Day Tour, Tastes and Toasts, will help you understand how the site's very existence is entwined with Philadelphia's Irish history.
The first superintendent was an Irish-American who emigrated here. He was succeeded by his brother. Like them, today's superintendent, Bill Doran, moved here from Ireland.
He has a fine appreciation of the place's heritage. On the tour, you will visit the final resting place of Civil War general Robert Patterson, whose monument overlooks the Schuylkill River.
You'll also learn the story of George Bryan, an Irish-American of influence who was an early activist in the abolitionist movement.
He also served as "president" of the state of Pennsylvania...what we now call "governor...and a Pennsylvania supreme court justice.
The event also includes a toast with Ireland's legendary brew, Guinness, and a dinner featuring ham, cabbage and potatoes. This is a ticketed event.
You may reserve yours by phoning the cemetery office at 215-228-8200, or visit online at Laurel Hill.
Tickets are based at $20.00 but there are discounts for senior citizens, students and groups. Movie buffs may know that several films were made in part at Laurel Hill Cemetery.In fact, one of the monuments is fictitious. Adrienne Balboa, wife of "Rocky", was said in the film series to be buried there. Her monument may be seen near the cemetery office.
st. patrick's day, philadelphia, pennsylvania, local/state
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