Cherry Blossom tree shading a row of gravestones at Congressional Cemetery

photo by: Pepper Watkins

HOPE Crew

Congressional Cemetery

  • Location: Washington, DC

Congressional Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 60,000 people, from Revolutionary War heroes and Native American tribal chiefs to early leaders of the Gay Rights Movement. Located on a rolling site above the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., this cemetery boasts a diverse collection of monuments, many of which were designed by well-known artists and stone carvers—including architect Benjamin Latrobe, who designed the cenotaphs that mark the graves of approximately 80 members of Congress. Among those buried here are Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, composer John Philip Sousa, and J. Edgar Hoover. Like most early cemeteries, however, Congressional was established without a perpetual care plan. As plot-owning families move or die out, the site suffers from neglect, vandalism, and theft.

The National Trust listed the cemetery in America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 1997. The cemetery also received a $50,000 grant to replace and reconstruct a row of 26 mausoleum vault roofs as part of 2013 Partners in Preservation: Washington, D.C. In May 2018, the National Trust and Congressional Cemetery held a one-day volunteer event to clean, document, and reset headstones.

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