It’s not exactly common for a major urban cemetery to become abandoned and fall into disrepair, but that’s exactly what happened to Mount Moriah, which straddles the southwest city limits of Philadelphia. Its story is similar to that of countless other abandoned places and buildings: changing socioeconomic factors slowly eroded the graveyard’s relevance until it was largely forgotten by the beginning of this century. When the last member of its board of directors died in 2004, it took some years before the city even noticed. Today, the situation is a bit less dire; a volunteer organization has been slowly hacking away at the weeds for years, keeping a growing portion of the property at least mowed and accessible. There are eventual plans to turn the entirety of the cemetery into a nature preserve.
A recent trip here illustrates that the wild and maintained parts of Mount Moriah coexist in close quarters, and that a few steps off the beaten path is all it takes to lead one from civilization to a murky necropolis where grave markers drown in seas of vine and thickets.