Lesser-known fact: Historic Eden Cemetery, which opened in 1902 in Collingdale, PA, (adjacent to Darby), was created on a 53-acre parcel of the original Bartram family farm in Pennsylvania, dating back to 1685. Eden remains the country’s oldest continuously operating Black-owned cemetery, dedicated to preserving memory and cultural continuity.
On this joint tour, hosted by the Bartram’s Garden curator and Eden Cemetery guides, we will visit Eden to learn about the history of the Bartram farm in Darby from 1685 to 1900, and to hear stories of the distinguished African Americans buried at Eden.
The first John Bartram and wife Elizabeth, Quaker immigrants and grandparents of the future botanist and founder of Bartram’s Garden, originally purchased a 300-acre farm in Darby in August 1685 — a rectangular tract running west from Darby Creek. Eden Cemetery, which opened in August 1902, is sited on the southern quarter of what had been the Bartram farm.
The Eden Cemetery Company was organized at the beginning of the 20th century to provide a sanctuary in the Philadelphia area where African Americans could be buried with dignity and respect. Following forced closure of many important historic burial sites, particularly Lebanon and Olive Cemeteries in the city, and new ordinances that effectively prohibited the creation of new African American cemeteries within city limits, Eden provided a site for new burials and for reinterment of thousands of earlier burials.
TRAVEL TO EDEN CEMETERY:
Tour participants may drive and park at Eden Cemetery. Meet there at 1:00 PM.
By Public Transit:
Take either the 113 bus from the SEPTA 69th Street Transportation Center (accessible by bus or Market-Frankford line), or the 11 trolley to the Darby Transportation Center. From there, the Cemetery is approximately a 20-minute walk uphill. Follow the walking directions below.
The walk from Darby Transportation Center takes about 20 minutes, uphill.
NOTE: The cemetery is on the same side of Springfield Rd. as the Dunkin Donuts. However, the best continuous run of sidewalk on Springfield Rd. is on the opposite side.