Congressional_Cemetery

Congressional Cemetery

The Congressional Cemetery is an historic cemetery located at 1801 E Street, SE, in Washington, D.C., on the bank of the Anacostia River. It is the final resting place of hundreds 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 are 19 Senators and 71 Representatives buried there. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1969.

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 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.

K-9 Corps

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 dues, K-9 Corps members pay an additional 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 will restrict K-9 membership, and is placing restrictions on the dogwalkers, now that the cemetery is on the upswing.

Notable interments

External links

Notes

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