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Repairs To Ben Franklin's Grave In Old City Complete

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Just in time for tourist season, repairs to Benjamin Franklin's grave have been completed at Christ Church burial ground in Old City. There will be an unveiling Tuesday evening.

The grave that holds Benjamin Franklin and his wife, Deborah, has occupied the cemetery for 225 years, but repairs took just over six weeks. Caretaker John Hopkins says a crack that had developed in the marble slab was pinned and sealed and the granite base fixed to prevent any further damage.

"Hopefully people will visit here in the year 3000 and this will still be here and they won't even know that we did any work and Benjamin Franklin can inspire future generations to come."

The $80,000 repair was paid for with a combination of funding, including grants from the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission, the Florence Gould Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania and contributions to a Go-Fund-Me page, including $10,000 from an anonymous donor. The Church also uses the pennies that visitors toss on the grave for good luck to maintain the site.

Hopkins says the penny-tossing will have to stop, because it nicks the marble, but the church will come up with a new activity.

"They'll still get their wishes and the money will help preserve his grave," he said, "but it won't destroy it."

The unveiling is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"It'll be back and open to the public and the man of the people will be here," said Hopkins, "and it will be, once again, one of the most visited sights in Philadelphia."

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