John Notman, architect of the Athenaeum and many other noted local buildings, designed Laurel Hill in 1836. The cemetery is an important example of an early rural burial ground and the first cemetery in America designed by an architect. Its rolling hills overlooking the Schuylkill River, its rare trees, and its monuments and mausoleums sculpted by Alexander Milne Calder, Alexander Stirling Calder, William Strickland, and Thomas U. Walter made it a popular picnic spot in
the 19th century; today it's a great place to stroll on your own, or take a guided tour. Among the notables buried in this 78-acre necropolis are prominent Philadelphians and Declaration of Independence signers. Burials still take place here.