Locals are dying to get into this Fishtown cemetery.
On a sunny but chilly spring morning, the brisk air aromatic with the scent of blooming flowers, I'm straining my eyes trying to read inscriptions on old decaying headstones.
I'm in gentrifying Fishtown, a half-mile from hipster bar Johnny Brenda's, in a square-block community graveyard that Norman Rockwell would've loved.
This is the Palmer Cemetery/Kensington Burial Ground, the quaintest, quirkiest cemetery in Philadelphia.
"I've never heard of another like it anywhere," says my guide, professional genealogist Ken Milano, aka the Kensington Historian.
Snuggled between Belgrade, Memphis, Montgomery and Palmer streets, this enclave, established in 1732, was bequeathed by legendary land baron Anthony Palmer, founder of the colonial town of Kensington.
Wandering around it today is like touring a free museum dedicated to three centuries of life along the Delaware.
Here, under gargantuan maple trees, lumpy grass and all manner of memorials, lie shipbuilders, fishermen, ironworkers, glassblowers, seamstresses, carpet makers and veterans of nearly every war the United States has entered.
After stunning me with the revelation that Fishtown is technically part of Kensington, Milano shows me eroding limestone markers engraved with monikers such as Bakeoven, Baker, Bidermann, Faunce and Pote. Under them rest German fishing families that arrived during the mid-18th century.
"It's been said that back then you could walk to Jersey on the backs of shad," he says.
Milano next points out a thin marble stone for Martin Cramp (1805-1895) of the celebrated Cramp shipbuilding clan.
"The Cramp shipyard, which stretched from Norris Street to Lehigh Avenue, was at one time the largest in the world," he says.
Milano finally escorts me to the grave of Revolutionary War stalwart John Hewson, who was born in England in 1744 but was such an anti-monarch as a young man that his wealthy parents persuaded Benjamin Franklin to spirit him off to America.
"Hewson fought with the patriots," Milano says. "The British hated him for taking up arms against his own king, but he became quite a hero on our side."
Minister Harry Hosier, who founded Philadelphia's first African-American Methodist congregation in 1794, is also reportedly buried here, as is lumber magnate Alexander Adaire (1779-1839), whose name graces a Palmer Street elementary school.
But even more intriguing than the souls spending eternity here are the unconventional dictates by which this operation is and has always been run.
Like most other entitlements, the right to be buried in Palmer comes with strings attached.
First, you must be living in Fishtown at the time of your death. Specifically, you must be living within the original boundaries of Fishtown-York Street, Frankford Avenue and the Delaware River.
Second, you can't arrange to be buried at Palmer until you're dead, which is no mean feat.