Laurel Hill - Additional Thoughts
After about four months, I am finally able to get my Laurel Hill Cemetery photos posted. Here we are in the cold of the winter – we’ve had arctic temperatures and snow that will not go away and accumulating since late January. I did get to go on one other explore with a good friend right before all this snow hit (blogs to come on those that I visited!) Talk about perfect timing. Four months since Laurel Hill, among the still warmish sun and some brilliant fall colors. I wish I could devote all of my time to my love of photography and walking through cemeteries, but alas, life’s priorities get in the way (and snow and frigid temps). But I like to be thorough with my discoveries. I take many, many photos on a cemetery walk, with many taken to go back and do internet research on what I found... and I found some wonderful surprises!
Finds of old, worn gravestones that are sadly hard to read in this 21st century, to elaborate statues of hopeful angels and obelisks with a person’s life’s achievements written on them. Of course there are the cemetery notables, like the Warner Monument sculpted by Alexander Milne Calder, the cemetery's beautiful ladies in stone scattered throughout, and simply its location overlooking the Schuylkill River.
Looking in the right place, I spy this stone in an odd, secluded location. Adrian Balboa ... wait ... I did a double take! Why is that name familiar to me? Well it came to me much sooner than most... I can hear Sylvester Stallone repeatedly calling out her name... Adrian! Rocky! But she is a fictional character. Snap this most unusual find and research it later. Well, it turns out that Laurel Hill Cemetery has a tour of “Famous People Not Buried at Laurel Hill”. According to one website, Sylvester Stallone thought the styrofoam prop was tacky, so they made an actual stone to film the cemetery scenes there. She is found near the main gate... as you enter, make a direct left and she is just a few yards away up on the left, between the road and the chain link fence separating the cemetery from Ridge Avenue.
My most favorite find in my research, I found by accident, and thought it an appropriate find for a photography lover as myself! I try to document anything unique that I find and I photographed a particular gravestone that caught my eye with an image of a rather handsome man from the 1800’s. His name is Robert Cornelius. After studying chemistry, he worked for his father in the family business at a lamp manufacturing company where he became know for his work in silver plating and metal polishing. With the help of a fellow chemist Paul Beck Goddard, he attempted to perfect the daguerreotype (a picture is made on a silver surface sensitized with iodine was developed by exposure to mercury vapor). He took this self portrait which is supposedly the first photograph of a human in history. Between 1841 and 1843 he operated one of the earliest photographic studios before the business of photography grew and he then returned to the family business. I was very excited that this quick snap, ended up being a notable person in the history of photography! Pat on the back for me!
I spent two Sundays here at Laurel Hill, but could return again and again and still not be able to visit this remarkable and beautiful cemetery thoroughly. I hope to return again!