Exploring the utopian vision-made-reality of America's first constructed park
Gate of Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia (all photographs by the author)
Philadelphia's Mount Moriah Cemetery has been officially closed and abandoned since 2011, its 380 acres now overgrown, the over 85,000 graves consumed by an encroaching forest. Incorporated in 1855, it was once among the most elite of the Victorian cemeteries. Now you're lucky if you can find a family member's grave without rubbing against poison ivy.
How such a significant place fell into such ruin is complicated, and years after its last burial it's still effectively without an owner. A nonprofit volunteer-spurred group called Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery regularly cuts a path in the bramble so there is at least some navigation through the grounds. But as the cemetery is divided between Philadelphia and Delaware counties, each with its own potential managing corporation, as of this month Mount Moriah's future is undecided by the two sides.
Mausoleum crumbling in the flora
Vines climbing up a statue