The cemetery is designated as a National Historic Landmark District and serves as an amazing oasis for birds and wildlife. The cemetery sits high above the Schuylkill River in West Philadelphia and is filled with many unique monuments to many people who shaped Philadelphia in the early 19th century.
The grounds surround the Hamilton Mansion, a federal style building once owned William Hamilton, a descendent of a prominent lawyer during the pre-colonial period. In the early 1800s, this was his estate. However by the late 1830s, the property had gone into a state of disrepair.
The estate was converted to a cemetery in 1840 and serves as the final resting place for many people instrumental to the development of Philadelphia and the United States. Notable figures include pioneer surgeon Dr. Samuel Gross and master of American realist art Thomas Eakins.
Visitors will find an outer perimeter path that is ideal for jogging. The dirt trail loops through trees and along the outer edge of the cemetery and has a great mix of small inclines that will get your heart rate up.
This isn’t just a great greenspace for humans. The cemetery also provides a perfect sanctuary of many types of birds. On a recent walk we saw a mockingbird, cardinal, northern flicker and tons of American robins.
The Woodlands is a perfect transit friendly escape from the hustle and bustle of Center City. Every trolley except the route 10 drops you off right across from the main entrance. Disembark at the brand new 40th st portal and make sure you cross Woodland Avenue safely as traffic, trolleys, and buses all frequent this area.
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