FAMOUS Philadelphians

Throughout the Delaware Valley are the final resting places of many FAMOUS Philadelphians. These Philadelphians were political & civic leaders, historical figures, writers and businessmen that in some way left an impact on our local as well as national community. All of these people are remembered in different ways from the simple marker to an elaborate mausoleum. What they all share in common is their final resting places are still in the Philadelphia area.

The idea of assembling this group of photo's came to me after visiting & touring the Laurel Hill and the Christ Church Cemeteries. I realized that there were so many FAMOUS Philadelphians that impacted our lives and history, there might be an interest by visitor's of this website in seeing how they are remembered.

Laurel Hill is located on Ridge Avenue right above the banks of the Schuylkill River in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia. Its grounds are filled with many political leaders, Generals, industrialists and other average citizens. It is best visited by taking one of their guided tours to truly appreciate the significance and meaning of many of the symbols.

The Christ Church Cemetery is located at 5th and Arch Street in the Old City section of Philadelphia and might be described as having the "Who's Who" of the Revolutionary War period buried within. There too you can take a short guided tour and really get a great history lesson.

Sports Figures

Richie Asburn

Richie Ashburn: A much loved center fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1948 through 1959. After retiring from baseball in 1962 Richie joined the Phillies as a commentator and was eventually paired up with the infamous Harry Kalas. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995. Richie passed away in September of 1997 and was laid out at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park where thousands of people paid their last respects to him. He is interred in the Gladwyne Methodist Church Cemetery.

John Kelly Sr.

John B. Kelly, Sr: The most accomplished rower of the United States. “Jack” won gold medals in both the single scull and double scull events during the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. He is the only rower in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Father of Grace Kelly, actress and Princess of Monaco. Father of John B. Kelly, Jr. another accomplished oarsman. The road running along the east side of the Schuylkill River is named Kelly Drive in his honor. There is also a statue in his likeness next to the grandstand along Kelly Drive. He is interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pa.

Connie Mack Stadium

Cornelius A. MiGillicudy: Better known as "Connie Mack." He was a professional baseball player, manager and team owner holding records for wins, losses and games managed. He shared ownership of The Philadelphia Athletics with Benjamin Shibe and in 1936 he became the full owner. In 1937 Mack was elected into the Hall Of Fame and in 1953 Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium. He is interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pa.

Political & Civic Leaders

Benjamin Franklin Ben Franklin's Grave

Notice the pennies pitched onto the grave:
"A penny saved is a penny earned"

Benjamin Franklin:The most famous of all Philadelphians. A Founding Father of the United States, printer, writer, scientist, inventor, abolitionist, civic activist and diplomat. Ben invented the lightning rod, the Franklin Stove, swimfins, glass harmonica, and bifocals. He wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac and the Pennsylvania Gazette. He formed the first public library and fire department. And a noted linguist. Ben is interred in The Christ Church Cemetery.

Betsy Ross

Betsy Ross: Famous for sewing the first flag of the United States. It was 3 members of a secret committee from the Continental Congress that came to Betsy, which included George Washington. She pointed out how to cut a 5-pointed star in a single snip and the rest is history. Betsy Ross is interred in the garden area of her home located at 239-41 Arch Street in the Old City section of Philadelphia.

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush: A physician, writer, educator and humanitarian, Dr. Rush was an opponent of slavery and capital punishment. A Founding Father of the United States, attended the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1777 he became Surgeon General of the Continental Army. In 1793 he was appointed to the staff of Pennsylvania Hospital. Dr. Rush became Professor of medical theory and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania in 1791 and remained a member of the hospital’s staff until his death. He is interred at Christ Church Cemetery.

Frank Rizzo Frank Rizzo: The former mayor of Philadelphia started his civil service career as a police officer in 1940’s. He became the Police Commissioner in 1967 and served in that position until 1971, resigning to run for mayor. He won that election and served two consecutive terms. While campaigning for another term as mayor in 1991 Frank passed away after a successful Republican primary election. He is interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pa.

Angelo Bruno

Angelo Bruno: Known throughout Philadelphia as "The Gentle Don" he led Philadelphia’s Mafia Family throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. The Don preferred to stay out of the limelight and handle business in a quiet professional way. He was assassinated on March 12, 1980 and is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon.

Disston Saws, Henry Disston

Henry Disston: The inventor and manufacturer of the Disston Saw. His manufacturing process was unique at that time, producing metal saw blades that could bend and flex without breaking, an industry first. He started the business in the early 1840’s and opened his factory in the Tacony Section of Philadelphia in the 1870’s. Evidence of his influence and paternalistic views are still evident today in Tacony. His original community park remains as well as a forbiddance of any establishment selling liquors. He is interred in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

John Wanamaker

John Wanamaker: A Pennsylvania Mason, he was considered to have opened the nation’s first department store, Wanamaker’s. The flagship store located at 13th & Market Streets is well known for the holiday light show, bronze eagle and enormous organ. Mr. Wanamaker was also appointed to United States Postmaster in 1889. He is buried in a family vault within the bell tower.

General Mercer

General Mercer

Brigadier General Hugh Mercer: Born in Scotland 1726 he was educated as a doctor and surgeon. Fleeing Scotland in 1747 Hugh settled in what is now Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. He became a member of the Fredericksburg Masonic Lodge in 1767. Eventually Hugh became a soldier in the Continental Army and served under his childhood friend, General George Washington. General Mercer died from wounds sustained in the Battle of Princeton. One famous descendant includes General George Patton of WWII. He is interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.


Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman: Walt was a poet, essayist, editor and journalist but is widely regarded be one of America’s best and most influential poets. His most famous work is Leaves of Grass. Walt was born in Long Island, moved to Washington, D.C. and later resided in Camden, New Jersey. He is interred in the Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey.