Tourists will once again be able to toss pennies on Benjamin Franklin’s grave at Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia, but manager John Hopkins would rather they didn’t.
Christ Church paid $80,000 to repair a crack in the original stone that was laid on Franklin’s grave when he died in 1790. Pressure caused by poor drainage and the pressure of all those pennies caused the crack, said Hopkins.
In order to improve drainage, Franklin’s marker was elevated and moved slightly to separate it from that of his daughter and her husband, Sarah and Richard Bache. Protecting the stone from the pennies is trickier.
“This is a way that people have developed to relate to Franklin,” said Hopkins. “‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’ We’re not going to stop the tradition, we just want to educate people.”
The restored grave was unveiled Tuesday evening. Signs urged visitors to leave their pennies for Franklin in collection bins and spare the grave stone.