- Congressional Cemetery
Congressional Cemetery Details Year established April 4, 1807 Country United States Location Washington, DC Coordinates Type Private Owned by Christ Church Size 35.75 acres (14 ha) Website Official Site Find a Grave FindagraveCongressional Cemetery Location: 1801 E St., SE., Washington, District of Columbia Coordinates: Coordinates: Area: 30 acres (120,000 m2) Governing body: Private NRHP Reference#:
Significant dates Added to NRHP: June 23, 1969 Designated NHL: June 14, 2011
The Congressional Cemetery is a historic cemetery located at 1801 E Street, SE, in Washington, D.C., on the west bank of the Anacostia River. It is the final resting place of thousands of individuals who helped form the nation and the city of Washington in the early 19th century. Many members of the U.S. Congress who died while Congress was in session are interred at Congressional. Other burials include the early landowners and speculators, the builders and architects of the great buildings of Washington, native American diplomats, mayors of Washington, and hundreds of Civil War veterans. Nineteenth-century Washington, D.C. families unaffiliated with the federal government have also had graves and tombs at the cemetery. In all there is one Vice-President, one Supreme Court Justice, six Cabinet Members, 19 Senators and 71 Representatives - including a former Speaker of the House, buried there; as well as one American Indian chief and veterans of every American war. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1969 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011.
Founding and history
The Congressional Cemetery was first established by private citizens in 1807 and later given over to Christ Church, which gave it the name Washington Parish Burial Ground. By 1817 sites were set aside for government legislators and officials; this includes cenotaphs for many legislators buried elsewhere. The cenotaphs were designed by Benjamin Latrobe. The Latrobe design consists of a large square block with recessed panels set on a wider plinth and surmounted by a conical point. The design is considered a rare and possibly unique example of Visionary architecture in the United States, of the kind practiced by the 18th-century French visionary architects Etienne-Louis Boullée and Claude Nicolas Ledoux.
The original cemetery was located on block 1115 on E Street between 18th and 19th Streets Southeast in 1808. In 1849, it doubled in size by acquiring the block to its south, 1116. In 1853, it expanded to the east on blocks 1130, 1148 and 1149 between F and G Streets Southeast. In 1853-53, the cemetery expanded to the west by acquiring block 1104, between 17th Street and 18th Streets Southeast. In 1858, the cemetery acquired block 1105 and Reservation 13. In 1859, it added blocks 1105 and 1123. Finally, the cemetery reached its current extent of 35.75 acres by growing south to Water Street Southeast with blocks 1106 and 1117 in 1869. Eventually the land to the south of the cemetery was transferred to the National Park Service although the access road to the RFK Stadium Parking Lot is administered by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission. In the 1950s, it appeared that the southeast corner of the cemetery would become a part of the right of way for the Southeast-Southwest Freeway. However, protracted environmental litigation halted construction at Pennsylvania Avenue, with the dead end of the freeway being connected by a temporary road to the RFK Parking Lot and to 17th Street Southeast at the southwest corner of the cemetery.
The cemetery is still owned by Christ Church but is now managed by the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery (APHCC). In recent years, Congressional has witnessed a turnaround in its situation. Where the grass was unmowed in 2000, the board now has established an endowment fund that will maintain the lawn in perpetuity. The Association hosts over 500 volunteers each year working on a wide variety of projects: from planting bulbs to resetting tombstones to pruning trees, doing research, and writing a newsletter.
In the early 2000s, after a series of mysterious phone calls to the cemetery, it was discovered that in the 1970s someone had broken into the Wirt Tomb at the cemetery and had stolen William Wirt's skull. After the skull was recovered from the house of a historical memorabilia collector, it spent time in D.C. Council member Jim Graham's office while he tried to get it returned to its rightful crypt. Finally in 2005 investigators from the Smithsonian Institution were able to determine the skull, which had gold block letters saying "Hon. Wm. Wirt" painted on it, was indeed his and had it returned.
The cemetery is administered by the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery, which is a non-profit corporation headed by a 15 member Board of Directors. The Association has five full time employees and over 500 volunteers. Its mission is:
TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY AS AN ACTIVE BURIAL GROUND AND CONSERVE THE PHYSICAL ARTIFACTS, BUILDINGS, AND INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE CEMETERY; TO CELEBRATE THE AMERICAN HERITAGE REPRESENTED BY THOSE INTERRED HERE; TO RESTORE AND SUSTAIN THE LANDSCAPE, TO PROTECT THE ANACOSTIA RIVER WATERSHED, AND TO MANAGE THE GROUNDS AS AN ACCESSIBLE COMMUNITY RESOURCE.
In 2009, the Association retained the Oehme, van Sweden & Associates to develop a new landscape plan.
Congressional Cemetery is also known for allowing members of the APHCC to walk dogs off-leash on the cemetery grounds. In addition to their annual membership dues, K-9 Corps members pay an additional annual fee for the privilege of walking their dogs in one of Washington's great open spaces. K-9 Corps members provide about one-third of Congressional Cemetery's operating income. Dog walkers follow a set of rules and regulations and provide valuable volunteer time to restore and beautify this historic place.
The K-9 Corps program is recognized as providing the impetus for the revitalization of Congressional Cemetery, which had fallen into tremendous disrepair and neglect prior to the program's creation. In 2008, the Association restricted K-9 membership, placing restrictions on dogwalkers as the program became more popular. The K-9 Corps program has been nationally recognized for creative use of urban green space.
- Joseph Anderson, (1757-1837), U.S. Senator — Tennessee, Comptroller of the U.S. Treasury
- Alexander Dallas Bache, (1806-1867), Superintendent of the Coast Survey, Charter member National Academy of Sciences
- William Lee Ball, (1781-1824), U.S. Congressman — Virginia, War of 1812 soldier
- Philip Pendleton Barbour, (1783-1841), U.S. Congressman — Virginia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
- Henry Washington Benham, (1813-1884), Union army general
- James G. Berret, (1815-1901), Mayor of Washington who was forced to resign at the outbreak of the Civil War
- James Blair, (1786-1834), U.S. Congressman — South Carolina
- Theodorick Bland, (1741-1790), U.S. Congressman — Virginia; the first to die in office
- Thomas Blount, (1759-1812) U.S. Congressman — North Carolina, Revolutionary War prisoner of war
- John Edward Bouligny, (1824-1864), U.S. Congressman — Louisiana; the only member of the Louisiana Congressional delegation to retain his seat after the state seceded during the Civil War (grave unmarked)
- Lemuel Jackson Bowden, (1815-1864), U.S. Senator — Virginia; represented Virginia during the Civil War
- Mathew Brady, (1822-1896), Civil War photographer
- Edward Bradley, (1808-1847), U.S. Congressman — Michigan
- Jacob Jennings Brown, (1775-1828), commanding general U.S. Army, hero of the War of 1812
- William A. Burwell, (1780-1821), U.S. Congressman — Virginia; private secretary to Thomas Jefferson
- Joseph Goldsborough Bruff, (1804-1889), architect and topographer
- John Carrington, (1871-1939), Fire Chief of Washington, DC, hero of the Knickerbocker Theatre disaster
- Levi Casey, (1752-1807), U.S. Congressman — South Carolina; Brigadier General of the South Carolina Militia and American Continental Army
- Warren R. Davis, (1793-1835), U.S. Congressman — South Carolina
- John Dawson, (1762-1814), U.S. Congressman — Virginia
- Owen Thomas Edgar, (1831-1929), longest surviving Mexican-American War veteran
- William H. Emory, (1811-1887), Army engineer, Western explorer, Civil War general
- John Forsyth, (1780-1841), U.S. Congressman and Senator — Georgia, Governor of Georgia, U.S. Secretary of State
- Henry Stephen Fox, (1791-1846), British diplomat
- Mary Fuller, (1888-1973), silent film actress (unmarked)
- John Gaillard, (1765-1826), U.S. Senator — South Carolina
- Elbridge Gerry, (1744-1814), Vice President and the only signer of the Declaration of Independence buried in Washington, D.C.
- James Gillespie, (1747-1805), Revolutionary War soldier, U.S. Congressman — North Carolina
- William Montrose Graham, Jr., (1834-1916), Major General in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War
- George Hadfield, architect; superintendent of construction for the U.S. Capitol
- Archibald Henderson, (1783-1859), the longest serving Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps
- David Herold, (1842-1865), conspirator of the Abraham Lincoln assassination
- Daniel Hiester, (1747-1804), U.S. Congressman — Pennsylvania
- J. Edgar Hoover, (1895-1972), FBI Director
- Robertson Howard, (1847-1899), attorney, editor for West Publishing, and founder of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity
- Andrew A. Humphreys, (1810-1883), Army Engineer, Civil War general, prominent scientist
- Samuel Humphreys, (1778-1846), naval architect known as Chief Constructor of the Navy
- Adelaide Johnson, (1859-1955), sculptor, social reformer
- Charles West Kendall, (1828-1914), U.S. Congressman — Nevada, California State Assemblyman, attorney
- Horatio King, (1811-1897), U.S. Postmaster General
- Tom Lantos, (1928-2008), U.S. Congressman — California; Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress
- Belva Ann Lockwood, (1830-1917), first woman attorney permitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court
- Joseph Lovell, (1788-1836), Surgeon General of the U.S. Army
- Alexander Macomb, Jr., (1782-1841), War of 1812 Hero, Commanding General of the Army and namesake of Macomb County and Macomb Township, Michigan; Macomb, Illinois and Macomb Mountain in New York
- Leonard Matlovich, (1943-1988), gay-rights activist and Air Force veteran
- Edward Maynard, (1813-1891), prominent Washington, D.C. dentist and firearms innovator
- Jeremiah McLene, (1767-1837), U.S. Congressman — Ohio, Major General of militia in the American Revolution, Ohio Secretary of State
- Robert Mills, (1781-1855), architect and designer of the Washington Monument
- Robert Adam Mosbacher, (1927-2010), U.S. Secretary of Commerce
- Joseph Nicollet, (1786-1843), Mathemetician and explorer who mapped the upper Mississippi River; namesake of City of Nicollet, County of Nicollet and Nicollet Island in Minnesota.
- James Noble, (1785-1831), U.S. Senator — Indiana
- Daniel Patterson, (1786-1831) U.S. Navy commodore
- Thomas H. Patterson, (1820-1889), U.S. Navy rear admiral
- William Pinkney, (1764-1822), U.S. and Maryland Attorney General, Mayor of Annapolis, statesman and diplomat
- Alfred Pleasonton, (1824-1897), Union army general
- Push-Ma-Ha-Ta, (c.1760-1824), Native American (Choctaw) Chief
- Edith Nourse Rogers, (1881-1960), social reformer, U.S. Congresswoman — Massachusetts; sponsor of the G. I. Bill and Womens Army Corps
- John Smilie, (1741-1812), U.S. Congressman — Pennsylvania
- Alexander Smyth, (1765-1830), lawyer, soldier, U.S. Congressman — Virginia
- John Philip Sousa, (1854-1932), composer of many noted military and patriotic marches and conductor of the U.S. Marine Band
- Samuel L. Southard, (1787-1842), U.S. Senator — New Jersey, Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New Jersey
- Richard Stanford, (1767-1816), U.S. Congressman — North Carolina
- William Taylor, (1788-1846), U.S. Congressman — Virginia, Member of Virginia House of Delegates, attorney
- Chief Taza, (c. 1849-1876), Apache Chief
- William Thornton, (1759-1828), physician, painter, designer and first Architect of the Capitol and superintendent of the U.S. Patent Office
- Thomas Tingey, (1750-1829), U.S. Navy commodore
- Clyde Tolson, (1900-1975), associate director of the FBI
- Joseph Gilbert Totten, (1788-1864), military officer, longtime Army Chief of Engineers, regent of the Smithsonian Institution, cofounder of the National Academy of Sciences and namesake of Fort Totten in Washington, D.C.
- Uriah Tracy, (1755-1807), U.S. Congressman and Senator — Connecticut
- William Upham, (1792-1853), U.S. Senator — Vermont, member of the Vermont House of Representatives, attorney
- Abel P. Upshur, (1790-1844), lawyer, Secretary of the Navy, U.S. Secretary of State
- Charles H. Upton, (1812-1877), U.S. Congressman — Virginia, consul to Switzerland
- William Wirt, (1772-1834), U.S. Attorney General, member of the Virginia House of Delegates, author
- John Quincy Adams, the 6th President of the United States, Interred in the Public Vault upon his death in 1848
- Louisa Catherine Adams, First Lady of the United States, wife of John Quincy, Interred in the Public Vault in 1852
- William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of the United States Interred in the cemetery's Public Vault in 1841
- Dolley Madison, First Lady of the United States, Interred in the vault in 1849
- John Aaron Rawlins Civil War General and U.S. Secretary of War, Buried at Congressional but later moved to Arlington National Cemetery
- Zachary Taylor, the 12th President of the United States, Interred in the Public Vault in 1850
In addition, the Congressional Cemetery contains a cenotaph for any member of Congress who died in office between 1833 and 1870 and was interred elsewhere.
- ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html.
- ^ "Congressional Cemetery Website". http://www.congressionalcemetery.org.
- ^ "National Register of Historic Places listings for June 24, 2011". National Park Service. June 24, 2011. http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/listings/20110624.htm. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
- ^ "Acquisition of the Squares". Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery. 2011-01-14. http://www.congressionalcemetery.org/sites/default/files/acquisitionofthesqauresindrawing.pdf.
- ^ "Fall 2007 Heritage Gazette Newsletter". http://www.congressionalcemetery.org/Research/Newsletters/2000_2009/Newsletter_2007_Fall.pdf.
- ^ Carlson, Peter. "Tale From the Crypt". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/19/AR2005101902374_pf.html. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- ^ a b "2009 Annual Report". Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery. 2011-01-14. p. 2. http://www.congressionalcemetery.org/sites/default/files/2009annualreport.pdf.
- ^ "2009 Annual Report". Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery. 2011-01-14. p. 10. http://www.congressionalcemetery.org/sites/default/files/2009annualreport.pdf.
- ^ "Cemetery Dogs". http://www.cemeterydogs.org.
- ^ Holeywell, Ryan (December 22, 2006). "Congressional Cemetery's Slow Resurrection". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/21/AR2006122101127.html. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- ^ "Dogwalking Program Overview". http://www.congressionalcemetery.org/.
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