Buried Stones, Buried Dreams
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.1 compilation DVD.
Mount Moriah Cemetery occupies a broad expanse of gently rolling land near Cobbs Creek, straddling Southwest Philadelphia and Delaware County. The burial ground features an ornate brownstone gatehouse built in the Norman castellated style, and its gravestones range from humble markers to grand mausoleums. The final resting place of a diverse array of people from the region, Mount Moriah is especially noted for its Civil War soldiers, particularly from the Battle of Gettysburg. Although the cemetery was once one of the Philadelphia region's premiere burial grounds, Mount Moriah gradually fell into disrepair. Garbage littered the grounds, and gravestones lay hidden beneath the undergrowth.
Neighborhood residents and the kin of Mount Moriah's eternal inhabitants are disturbed by the condition of the cemetery, and raise important questions about our responsibilities to the dead. "Cemeteries just can't work without the living," says local historian and author Thomas Keels.Buried Stones, Buried Dreams features those who want to restore the cemetery, out of respect for its war dead, and so that its rich heritage can be passed down to future generations. "When you study how people are buried," says Keels, "you're looking at a social history, an economic history, and racial and religious history of the city of Philadelphia."