Destination Pennsylvania: Hollenback Cemetery

Destination PA

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — Eleven Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices along with the highest concentration of Civil War veterans in Northeastern Pennsylvania are buried in Wilkes-Barre’s Hollenback Cemetery.

Walking tours of the cemetery showcase the final resting place of 16,000 people.  

“It is the movers and shakers of Wilkes-Barre,” Tony Brooks, director, Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society said.

Nestled between the Susquehanna River and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, sits the 20-acre Hollenback Cemetery.

“There are 16,000 burials here,” Brooks told Eyewitness News.

While most folks are not interested in being buried in the cemetery that was first established in 1855, many want to learn the rich history associated with it through the walking tours offered Brooks.

“Almost all of the streets of Wilkes-Barre and our park’s names are all right here, Mr. Kirby of Kirby Park is buried right here,” Brooks explained.

Fellow lovers of cemeteries, also known as taphophiles, come in droves to learn countless fun facts about the cemetery’s residents, like the beloved songbird portrayed by Meryl Streep in the academy award nominated film, Florence Foster Jenkins.

“(she) was born on South Franklin Street and now eternally rests here,” said Brooks.

You can also see the final resting spot for the men who belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic, the namesake of one area high school.

“One section of the cemetery that is all members of the G.A.R.,” said Brooks.

Whether you are one of the 100 on Brooks’ tours or by yourself… 

“Anyone can come visit the cemetery. It is open every day from eight to four. Plenty of parking and it’s a wonderful place to bring your dog.”

To learn more about Hollenback cemetery, and to find out when the next walking tours will be held, check out the cemetery’s Facebook page.

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