Inside, you’ll see William Penn’s baptismal font (donated in 1697 by All Hallows Church in London), a chandelier installed in 1740, and a pulpit built by Thomas Folwell in 1769. William White, church rector for 57 years, first bishop of Pennsylvania, and chaplain of the Continental Congress, is also buried here. When the parish grew too large, St. Peter’s Church was established as an offshoot for Society Hill members. The church remains active to this day, and 20-minute guided tours are offered when service is not in session.
Christ Church Burial Ground
In 1790, Ben Franklin’s funeral was attended by more than 20,000 people. Here he rests, alongside his wife and young son and more than 5,000 other early Philadelphians. In 1719, the overcrowded grounds of Christ Church a few blocks away could no longer fit more bodies, so this plot was purchased on the “outskirts of town” to accommodate its members (Arch St. btwn. 4th and 5th Sts., 215/922-1695; Mar.-Nov. Mon.-Sat. 10am-4pm, Sun. noon-4pm, Dec. Fri.-Sat. noon-4pm, weather permitting; closed Jan. and Feb.; $2 adult, $1 student, $10 for groups up to 25).
The site was closed to the public for 25 years, but it reopened in 2003 after an intensive renovation. More than 1,400 markers remain, many so old and worn down that the names are no longer visible. During a tour you’ll learn about the prominent figures and ordinary folks who were buried here. While 80 percent of the burials took place before 1840, the most recent was in 1994. Legend has it that it’s good luck to throw a penny on Ben’s grave.
Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Philadelphia .