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The Woodlands Cemetery and Mansion

1840s cemetery and Federal-style mansion

The Hamilton Mansion at The Woodlands Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

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It’s a fair guess that when William Hamilton, Andrew’s grandson, built his Federal-style mansion on his 250-acre estate, he didn’t expect it to be surrounded by a cemetery.

During the Hamilton family’s glory days, the estate was a center for elegance and gracious entertaining.

By the 1840s, the property fell into disrepair and the grounds were turned into The Woodlands Cemetery and Mansion, now the final resting place for some of Philadelphia’s most notable citizens, including Thomas Eakins and Rembrandt Peale, the Drexel and Biddle families, railroad magnates Asa Whitney and John Edgar Thompson, surgical pioneer Dr. Samuel Gross and dozens of others.

The History

Renowned for his work in horticulture, landscape design and botany, William Hamilton, Andrew’s grandson, was asked by Thomas Jefferson to plant some seeds harvested during Lewis and Clark’s expeditions. Eventually, the estate boasted more than 10,000 species of plants.

Today, The Woodlands Cemetery and Mansion boasts than 720 historic trees and plants have survived and are scattered throughout the property.

Winding brick paths follow Hamilton’s original landscape, meandering through the estate where headstones, ranging from the simple to the monumental, reveal a who’s who of 18th- and 19th-century Philadelphia.

Don’t Miss

Stop into the cemetery office and pick up a map showing where notable people are buried.

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