The History and Events of Congressional Cemetery
Tune in as AJ shares fascinating insights into the history of the Congressional Cemetery, an important historical landmark. He also provides updates on current events taking place at the cemetery and other valuable information you won’t want to miss.
The Congressional Cemetery, officially known as the Washington Parish Burial Ground, is a historic cemetery located in Washington, D.C., at 1801 E Street, SE. Established in 1807, the cemetery spans over 35 acres and is the final resting place for many notable individuals who played a significant role in the early history of the United States.
Initially, the cemetery was established as a burial ground for Christ Church, an Episcopal congregation. However, due to its proximity to the U.S. Capitol, it quickly became the chosen burial site for many members of Congress, government officials, military personnel, and local Washington residents, which led to its famous nickname, “Congressional Cemetery.”
In 1817, the cemetery gained national attention when the cenotaphs designed by architect Benjamin Latrobe were erected in memory of congressmen who died while in office. The cenotaphs are simple, white, neoclassical-style structures that became a hallmark of the cemetery. However, not all members of Congress are buried there, and the name “Congressional Cemetery” can be misleading.
Notable people interred at Congressional Cemetery include Vice Presidents Elbridge Gerry and George Clinton, Dolley Madison (First Lady and wife of President James Madison), John Philip Sousa (composer and conductor), Mathew Brady (Civil War photographer), and J. Edgar Hoover (first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation).
Throughout the 20th century, the cemetery fell into disrepair due to neglect and vandalism. However, in the early 21st century, concerted efforts were made by the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery, volunteers, and private donors to restore and maintain the cemetery. Today, the Congressional Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an active burial ground, hosting tours and events to preserve its rich history.
Visit their website at https://congressionalcemetery.org/ for contact information and a calendar of their events.