Laurel Hill Cemetery at Grey Towers
September 16, 2013
This may look familiar as I’ve uploaded pictures of it in the past -- it’s the Laurel Hill Cemetery at Grey Towers in Milford, Pennsylvania. The cemetery is a side attraction to the popular Poconos destination, the Grey Towers mansion, former home of Gifford Pinchot, “first director of the United States Forest Service (USFS) and twice elected” and much beloved I would add, at least according to the tour, “governor of Pennsylvania” in the 1920s and 30s ( There is a small sign at the parking lot that leads to the cemetery but I wouldn’t be surprised if visitors skipped the cemetery altogether. The opulent Grey Towers is surrounded by an expansive landscape with views of the Catskills and Poconos that will naturally excite and draw the visitor in, away from side attractions like cemeteries and whatnot.

The last time I was there I remember the sign at the cemetery’s entrance said it was open not during specific times of day but rather during an imprecise “from dawn to dusk”. I took it to mean as a warning or perhaps an invitation for anyone who might dare venture into the cemetery at night -- after dusk or before dawn. Having an odd bent for things supernatural, I said then I just might.

Well this one particular morning, I did. Or at least I made a pathetic attempt. After dropping Vi off at work at 6 in the morning, I drove to Milford hoping to get there before sunrise. I made it in time however I failed to realize that the day is already bright long before the sun peeks out from the horizon. The day turned out to be nice, too. It was cold and chilly but the fog diffused the lighting making for surreal landscapes at times.

So in short, no dark and haunting cemetery experience for me.

Still, it’s a pretty ancient burial ground. With trees overgrown after years of neglect uprooting the human remains that were buried underneath, as far as cemeteries go, Laurel Hill is as creepy as it gets. This cemetery, I’d say, is the real deal. If a tree branch snaps or a cold breeze fondles you while you were out taking in the scenery, it's the kind of cemetery that will make you jump right out of your skin.

Hopefully, next time around, I will get there while it’s dark and get that kind of experience. Hopefully, I can then capture images with my camera of oddities that cannot be explained. And hopefully, too, I will survive the ordeal and live to tell you about it...

Click on a picture to enlarge.
There are two entrances to the cemetery.
This one is along Owega Turnpike. But there is no roadside parking so you're better off parking at Grey Towers and using the entrance there.
According to the Laurel Hill pamphlet, after over 100 years of neglect, trees grew among the graves. The Forest Service removed the trees as they posed as hazards to the gravestones during fierce winds when branches and trees fell on them but decided more damage would be caused if the stumps were pulled out of the ground. So the stumps remained.
I've read that until recent times, average life expectancy was around 45 years. I had thought then that the average was pulled down by the infant and child deaths due to diseases untreatable back then, but that once past childhood people grew to ripe old ages. This cemetery proves me wrong. People did indeed die at the age of 45 or earlier as this one gravestone shows.
A Pinchot grave.
Entrance from the Grey Towers side.
Path leading to Laurel Hill Cemetery. (The cemetery is behind me.)
Raspberry tree at Grey Towers.
Grey Towers.
View from Grey Towers.
Grey Towers, like Central Park, is one of those few places I visit that I could never seem to get to where I intend to go because I am constantly stopping along the way to take photos.
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