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How You Can Help Fix Ben Franklin's Tombstone

by Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There's a crack in a famous Philadelphia landmark.

No, we're not talking about the Liberty Bell, this crack needs to be fixed.

It's the simplest of markers: the names Deborah and Benjamin Franklin and the date, 1790.

Burial Ground manager John Hopkins says Franklin wanted it that way.

"Philadelphia's pretty much his tombstone, his epitaph, so he doesn't need anything grand."

You can often find a gaggle of tourists at the corner of 5th and Arch Streets, tossing pennies through the wrought iron fence into Old Christ Church graveyard and onto the tombstone of Ben Franklin.

"This is our greatest artifact," said John Hopkins, burial ground manager.

He appreciates the tradition, it actually raises $4000-$5000 a year, but it's one of the stresses damaging the 226-year-old slab.

The biggest culprit is water seeping in through underneath. That's caused a crack, now about 3/4's of the way through.

"We have to remove his marker and do some work underneath of it and then raise it slightly," Hopkins explained.

(credit: GoFundMe)

They're about $10,000 short, so they've started a GoFundMe campaign-- something Hopkins thinks Franklin might have invented if he'd still been around. On Tuesday, a spokesperson with GoFundMe said that one of the donors to the cause might have been the famous couple, Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi, who according to the company, donated $5,000.

It is unclear if the couple actually donated the money.

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