“The decaying bodies of the dead may securely moulder into kindred dust”: The Woodlands Cemetery Tour

Imagine yourself a 19th century Philadelphian and a close member of your family has just died, perhaps a child—which was very common. Chances were that before the establishment of rural cemeteries, your loved one would be interred in one of the city’s notoriously sodden burial grounds or bone yards. As the itinerant Scottish observer Basil Hall commented, these yards where “mourners sink ankle deep in rank and offensive mould and fragments of coffins” offended 19th century Romantics’ new sense of funereal propriety.

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