A Spontaneous Stroll: Discovering History and Beauty on the Locust Walk

Sometimes, the best adventures are the unplanned ones. On a sunny day with three hours to spare before my next class, I embarked on a spontaneous journey. The destination: the Locust Walk, a path that would take me from Drexel through University of Pennsylvania to the enchanting Woodland Cemetery. With an eagerness to explore botanical gardens and delve into the history of this serene place, my casual walk turned into a captivating adventure.

A Walk Through The University of Pennsylvania

The 30-minute walk from Drexel’s URBN Center to Woodland Cemetery unveiled a realm of unexpected beauty. Along the way, towering trees from around the world lined my path, offering a glimpse into nature’s diversity. Each step brought me closer to history as I stumbled upon the statue of Benjamin Franklin, sitting regally on a bench. This chance encounter with one of America’s founding fathers made me pause, realizing the importance of this vibrant city.

Exploring Woodland Cemetery

My first impression of Woodland Cemetery defied my expectations. It wasn’t eerie but rather bright, welcoming, and full of life. Amidst the gravestones, an abundance of trees and flourishing bushes seemed to spring from the very earth. This cemetery served as a reminder of life’s preciousness and the beauty that can emerge from moments of tragedy. I observed people strolling, running, and sharing peaceful moments with their loved ones.

Historical Gems

While exploring, I couldn’t help but admire the historic landmarks that peppered the cemetery. Hamilton’s Mansion stood in the center, a testament to a man’s love for botany and the desire to transform his estate into a haven for plants and trees. The building, designed to mirror neo-classical structures from England, was a stunning piece of history.

Nearby, I came across the Drexel family tomb, surrounded by a marble balustrade and a circular drive. It held the remains of three generations: Francis Drexel, the financier (1792-1863); Anthony Drexel, the university founder (1826-1893); and George Drexel, editor and publisher of the Philadelphia Public Ledger (1868-1944). Their legacy, preserved in this serene setting, was a testament to their contributions to the city and the world of education.

Until Next Time

This impromptu stroll brought me closer to the heart of Philadelphia, deepening my connection to this city’s history and natural beauty. It instilled a profound appreciation for the university and the remarkable individuals who played pivotal roles in its formation. The Locust Walk is not just a path; it’s a gateway to discovery and reflection.

The beauty of such an adventure is that it’s accessible to anyone with a curious spirit. If you find yourself in Philadelphia, take a leisurely walk and uncover the treasures that this vibrant city has to offer.