Leverington Cemetery, located on Ridge Avenue between Lyceum Avenue and Conarroe Street, may be one of the oldest running cemeteries in the nation. But local Goths and ghost hunters will also be intrigued to know that WHYY once named it one of the most actively documented locations for apparitions in Philadelphia.
Long before Bob’s Diner started serving eggs over easy and a strong cup of coffee, it was the location of the Lyceum, a building that stored hundreds of years of Leverington Cemetery burial records. When the Lyceum went up in flames in the 1960s, a large part of Roxborough history went with it. Fortunately, local historian Don Simon is a walking repository of that history. And fortunately for us, he will be leading tours of the cemetery on Saturday, October 7th at 1:00pm and 3:00pm as part of Roxtoberfest 2023.
Historic memorials to the American Revolution and Civil War are other points of interest to visitors. “Historic graves include Revolutionary War soldiers from Virginia killed during Battle of Germantown and Civil War soldiers,” he said. “There’s also Hettie Jones, a Roxborough native and Civil War nurse, and her brother, an officer in the Union Army. Both were killed during the Civil War and buried here.”
“Historic graves include Revolutionary War soldiers from Virginia killed during Battle of Germantown and Civil War soldiers."
The cemetery’s name goes back to Wigard Levering, a Prussian immigrant. In 1691, he bought a 500-acre parcel that stretched from the Schuylkill River to Wissahickon Creek. The Leverington Cemetery started as a family plot where he, his mother, and daughter are buried. In 1703, thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Levering was the first to be laid to rest on this land.
In the 320 years since Elizabeth's death, the cemetery became known as the Roxborough Burial Grounds and later as Leverington Cemetery. Dozens of other Leverings are buried here, along with their descendants, neighbors, and thousands of residents not only from the 21st Ward, but from across Philadelphia and Montgomery County.
Randi Mautz became the owner/president of Leverington Cemetery in 2016 as the result of a family legacy. “My grandfather was an accountant who formed the Levering Cemetery Company in the 1940s. At the time, it was going to ruin, and there was a rumor that John Wanamaker would turn it into a shopping center,” said Mautz. “When my stepfather, who was managing the cemetery, and the caretaker both died, I took over the responsibility with the help of the landscaper who maintains it.”
Mautz is proud to be maintaining this active, historic cemetery. Mautz, who runs her own graphic design business, ImagEvolution, also designs the cemetery’s website and signs.
“We are working to verify Leverington Cemetery as one of the oldest running cemeteries in the nation,” adds Mautz. “We are a non-denominational cemetery and more affordable than most cemeteries.”
Take a break from the music and food at Roxtoberfest and join a cemetery tour.
Leverington Cemetery Tours
Saturday, October 7th
1:00 pm and 3:00 pm
Meet at the entrance at Leverington Cemetery for the tours with Don Simon.