Christ Church Burial Ground is located on Arch Street at the entrance to the Olde City and just a few blocks up from the Constitution Center. Burried in this cemetary are the remains of several important figures in America's history including many signers of the Declaration of Independence, but perhaps its most famous resident is Bejamin Franklin, the famous scientist and inventor. Franklin's gravesite is visible from the street and passersby often toss a penny on his stone. In fact it was covered with them. We could not figure out why this was, except that he was the one who coined the phrase "A penny saved is a penny earned." I wonder what he would think of all of these pennies!
Christ Church has had a rich history from its original founding in the late 1600's to the present day. The original building was a wood and brick structure. The current structure, begun in 1727 and is said to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in America. Leaders of the American Revolution and other prominent people attended worship services within its walls.
People like General George Washington, Robert Morris, Absalom Jones, Betsy Ross and Benjamin Rush worshiped here. Benjamin Franklin conceived a way of providing a steeple by the use of a lottery. Christ Church is known as "The Nation's Church" because so many of the Revolutionary leaders attended the services.
Christ Church was the first parish of the Church of England in Pennsylvania. It is also where the American Episcopal church was born. Costumed characters add a touch of realism to your visit!
There is a burial ground open to the public at another location. Hours are Mon.-Sat. 9am-5 pm; Sun. 12:30 pm-5 pm.
Christ church was actually established as a church in 1695, however the present building dates to 1727. "The tower and steeple, financed in part by lotteries managed by Benjamin Franklin, was completed in 1754. The building is an outstanding example of colonial architecture in the Georgian spirit." from the text of the church brochure.
Christ church (pic 1) is a protestant Episcopal church that was built in 1754 in Georgian style (replacing the old wood and brick church) and it is one of the historic churches in US. Many famous figures, from B.Franklin, G,Washinghton to Betsy Ross worshipped here of course. I didn’t really feel impressed by the simple interior (pic 2) so we stayed only for some minutes and then got outside and checked also the 60m high steeple of the church.
The man that runs the gift shop was always behind us trying to give us info about the church
There’s no entrance fee but donations are welcome.
Benjamin Franklin is buried at the cemetery of the church (it’s a couple of blocks to the north and there’s a small entrance fee) but many others too like singers of the Declaration of Independence and signers of the Constitution.
Christ Church was founded in 1695 (as an Anglican Church). It still survives today and just about every famous person who lived or passed through Philadelphia seems to have worshipped here. The church is also where the American Episcopal denomination was started after shrugging off the British Monarchy.
As morbid as it sounds, I enjoyed visiting the Burial Grounds at Christ Church more than the church itself. They are located a couple of blocks west of the church. The Burial Grounds Serves as the final resting place for a literal who's who of Founders of the United States. There are seven signers of the Declaration of Independence buried here as well as 5 signers of the Constitution of the United States.
Benjamin Franklin is the most popular Grave site (covered with pennies left by visitors). Bainbridge, a proponent of a strong Navy and one of the founders is buried here also. Benjamin Rush, an important figure in American History and the Founder of American Psychology is also here. There is a small entrance fee to get in. I think it was $2.00 when I went in 2007. You'll get that back and then some when reading the different graves.
Imagine going to church and sitting next to Benjamin Franklin. A few pews from George Washington. Hey, there's Betsy Ross. If you went to Christ Church in the late 18th century, you may very well have worshipped with those luminaries, and more.
The creme de la creme of Philadelphia society worshipped at Christ Church. It's not ornate in the least; in fact, it's very simplicity is quite striking. It was founded in 1696 (though it's not the oldest church in Philadelphia).
Walking in and around Christ Church, you feel the history in all who have come here. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried on its grounds. Christ Church was indeed an important place to be in 18th century Philadelphia.
Christ Church is, in fact, a working church first & a tourist destination second. Services are held on Wednesday and Sunday mornings, and are open to the public. They also hold weddings and baptisms. The church itself is open to the public daily. Volunteers are available to answer your questions - in fact, they're quite helpful and friendly.
It was an honor indeed to have been on these famous, sacred grounds.
At Benjamin Franklin's Funeral, a small tradition began. People threw pennies on his grave.
After that, new Brides in town would pass the gravesite and toss a penny. If it remained, there was additional good luck in store for the marriage.
Now anyone who walks by can try it. The catch is, you must throw it from outside the fence, while moving.......
I missed. But I don't need any more luck. ;-)
Located at the corner of 4th and Arch in Old City, you'll find the entrance to the Christ Church Burial Ground. Five signers of the Declaration of Independence along with many other notable Colonial era citizens are buried here. Certainly, the most famous person buried here is Philadelphia's favorite, Benjamin Franklin. Visiting the burial ground is FREE.
Christ Church dates to 1695 and was the home church of such famous Americans as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and William Penn. Inside you'll find the font in which Penn was baptized, which was sent to America from London.
Along with a handful of other signers of the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin is buried in Philadelphia at the Christ Church Burial Ground, a corner plot cemetery actually a few blocks from famed Christ Church. Franklin's grave stands in the corner of the cemetery, easily noticed by passersby from the engraved name and the host of pennies and coins tossed nobly thereon. The cemetery itself has long been full; its gates are often locked. One can easily stoop at Franklin's feet from outside the gate, but you'll have to call the church for the burial ground hours. Suggested donation for touring this necropolis is $2.
The beautiful simplicity of Christ Church is evident on the outside too. What struck me the most, though, was the spire. It was, for 75 years, the tallest structure in Philadelphia, if not the whole country. One of the helpful volunteers referred to it as "America's First Skyscraper".
Our most beautiful one too, in one man's opinion.
Many American cities were founded on religious ideas. For example, Boston was founded by Puritans and Salt Lake City was founded by Mormons. Philadelphia was founded by a Quaker on the idea of religious freedom. As a result, new religions florished. One of these new religions was Episcopalian, the religion to which the founding fathers predominantly belongs. Philadelphia's main Episcopalian church was Christ Church and its attendees is a veritable "who's who" in the founding of America. The church itself is not particularly fancy but I would certainly recommend going to a service to experience a glimpse of what some of the founding fathers might have seen every Sunday as they were changing the world. Not to far from Christ Church is the burial grounds where Franklin and some other important Americans are buried, also worth seeing although only from the outside as they charge you to go inside.
A beautiful old cemetary that is home to the graves of 5 signers of the Declaration of Independence, including Benjamen Franklin (one of my son's heros). Everywhere, I read that entry fees were by donation. Not that I minded paying $6 for the four of us, but be prepared, you don't get in unless you pay. That day, there was a scavenger hunt of sorts sponsored by Christ Church where children were to find the graves of the 7 signers of the Declaration of Independence buried there and at Christ Church itself and answer questions about each of them. At the end, the children received a small gift bag for the completion of the hunt. That was pretty neat.
Closed Thanksgiving, Dec 25 and Dec 31
Unlike the City Tavern, Christ Church is an authentic structure from the Colonial period, standing here since 1744, and for a long time the tallest structure in the Colonies. George Washington and his wife Martha among others worshipped in this building. The baptismal font in which William Penn was baptized adorns the building outside. Philadelphia "Colonials" often man this oft-visited building, sometimes asking for a $2 donation for your visit. Outside you'll find the architecture a wonderful gem of Georgian style, and the interior (though not as ornate as others) a fine noble nave well-illumined by a host of tall windows. Photographs are permitted inside, but finding a suitable angle outside from which to capture the entire steeple is a difficult chore.
Few Philadelphians can pass 5th and Arch streets without throwing a good-luck penny through the grates of Christ Church Burial Ground onto Ben Franklin's grave
No other town burying its great man, ever buried more of itself than Philadelphia with Franklin," wrote Carl Van Doren in his biography of Franklin.
Franklin himself had composed the black-bordered Pennsylvania Gazette which announced his death. Dr. Jones, Franklin's physician, informed the readers of Franklin's final illness. He had been suffering from empyema, pus filling in his lung brought on by attacks of pleurisy many years earlier. His temperature was high. This made breathing laborious, and he almost suffocated. After several days of breathing woes, the pain went away for a day, upon which he left his bed and asked that it be made properly so that he might have a dignified death. His daughter, Sally, told him that she hoped he would live many years more. "I hope not," he replied.
An abscess in Franklin's lung burst and he passed into a coma. He died on April 17, 1790, with his grandsons William Temple and Bennie at his side. Benjamin Franklin was 84 years old.
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