text: seven walking tours through historic philadelphia

Mikveh Israel Cemetery

Washington Square 12

Walking west on Spruce toward Pennsylvania Hospital, you come to one of the city's most hallowed spots — the redbrick-walled Mikveh Israel Cemetery, dating from 1740. It was the first burying ground for Philadelphia's Jewish community, and here in an unmarked grave lies Haym Salomon (c. 1740-1785), the Pole who placed his fortune at the disposal of the Colonies. First by working with the Sons of Liberty (and escaping from jail twice) and then as a broker, Salomon's role in the Revolution cannot be overestimated. When the U.S. Post Office honored him on a 10-cent stamp in 1975 they wrote: "Businessman and broker Haym Salomon was responsible for raising most of the money needed to finance the American Revolution." A stone commemorating Salomon is placed at the cemetery's entrance.

Most beloved of all who lie here is Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869), the benevolent model for the character Rebecca in Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe."

Washington Square and West