a funerary monument set against a backdrop of pennies

Project Penny Heaven for Friends of York City Cemetery

a funerary monument set against a backdrop of pennies

Preservation Pennsylvania acts as an advisor and fiscal manager for Project Penny Heaven.

Project Penny Heaven

The Friends of York City Cemetery invite you to help fund a memorial that will at last provide public recognition to the 800 people who were buried without markers at the cemetery often called Potter’s Field or Penny Heaven.

 After extensive research using city records, the Friends of York City Cemetery have catalogued the names of known people laid to rest in this site and their names will be inscribed on the stone memorial. Remembered at last!


Make a donation

Donations are 100% tax deductible.

Campaign thermometer shows $6,446 raised


Friends of York City Cemetery

Jamie Noerpel, Ph.D., Wandering in York County, Witnessing York, Chair

Samantha Dorm, Friends of Lebanon Cemetery

Tina Charles, Friends of Lebanon Cemetery

Dr. Joy Giguere, Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Gravestone Studies

Jack Sommer, President Historic Prospect Hill Cemetery Heritage Foundation


an aerial view shows a red outline of the grassy area where these bodies are buried.
Unlike the cemetery at the left, the burial site for the poor, outlined in red, has no markers.


A stone monument has a central rectangular block flanked by two classical figures on a rusticated stone base.
The names will be inscribed on this monument.

When someone died, the city physician would coordinate the paperwork and the engineer would locate and identify the burial site. Then a public works crew dug and filled in the grave.

In 1897, York City exhumed over 600 bodies from West College Avenue between South Beaver Street and South Cherry Lane, moving them to a new location; their final resting place along Schley Alley and W. 7th Ave. in North York. Close to 200 more people have been interred here since then, with the last known burial taking place in 2004.

Names will be etched into the front side of the granite monument. Room will be reserved to allow for future discoveries. The reverse side will display a bronze plaque describing the history and significance of Penny Heaven. Finally, a photo of the 1930 grave index will be printed to show visitors the locations of known graves.

Learn more

Read Witnessing York: Class Division, Even in Death, by Jamie Noerpel, Ph.D. and Jim McClure

Read Wandering in York County: It’s More Than a Grassy Field; City Cemetery Bears 800 Unmarked Graves, by Jamie Noerpel, Ph.D.



Campaign thermometer shows $6,446 raised

Make a donation

Donations are 100% tax deductible.