9.03.2016

Too Short for a Blog Post, Too Long for a Tweet XLV

Here's an excerpt from a book I just read, "Haunted Philadelphia: Famous Phantoms, Sinister Sites, and Lingering Legends," by Darcy Oordt:


Monument Cemetery opened in 1837, the second rural cemetery built for Philadelphia. Laurel Hill was the first. Monument Cemetery encompassed four square blocks between Broad Street and Seventeenth Street and between Norris and Montgomery. Unfortunately, the cemetery ran out of space by 1929. With no new revenue, the cemetery fell on hard times. In 1956, Temple University purchased Monument Cemetery. Temple had no desire to own a cemetery but planned to build several sports fields on the location. But before they could do that, they had to move the 28,000-plus bodies. Ironically, the founder of Temple University Russell Conwell and his wife were two of the residents they had to evict. Temple attempted to notify all the next of kin, but only a small portion of them responded. They transferred the rest of the bodies to a mass grave at Lawnview Cemetery. But only the bodies. As a sort of reversal to Poltergeist, Temple moved the bodies but not the markers. The stones were sold to developers to use as foundation material (also known as “rip rap” with an emphasis on the RIP) for the Betsy Ross Bridge. Although many are submerged below the waterline, some can be seen around the support columns and near the river’s edge during low tide. No ghosts have been reported on the Betsy Ross Bridge, but you can’t help but look for them whenever you travel over the bridge once you know it was built on top of monuments to the dead.
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