Histopolis features a different cemetery, town, county or other place every
day on the Place-of-The-Day.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Histopolis Place-of-the-Day for Tuesday, November 30, 2010 is Congressional Cemetery in Washington, District of Columbia.
"Established in 1807, Congressional Cemetery is located in the southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., overlooking the Anacostia River. The National Cemetery Administration has jurisdiction over 806 burial plots located throughout the larger cemetery, including some of the oldest and most significant historic resources maintained by the agency.
"The original 4.5 acres of Congressional Cemetery was purchased by a group of Washingtonians for a private burial ground. On July 19, 1807, Uriah Tracy of Connecticut became the first congressman buried in the cemetery. In 1812 the group deeded the cemetery to Christ Church as The Washington Parish Burial Ground. Five years later, Christ Church set aside 100 burial lots for members of Congress who died in Washington. From this time forward, the nickname Congressional Cemetery has been used, although in 1849 the official name was changed to Washington Cemetery.
"By the 1820s, Congressional Cemetery was the traditional burial site of senators, congressmen, and other high-ranking federal officials who died in Washington. In 1823, the church donated an additional 300 gravesites for congressional use, and in 1834 Congress appropriated funds for the erection of a keepers house, planting trees, and placing boundary stones. Since 1849, the piecemeal expansion of additional ground led to its present size of approximately 30 acres.
"The National Cemetery Administration is the steward of the most significant collective structures in the cemetery; the unique cenotaphs designed by America's first professional architect, Benjamin Latrobe. Fabricated from Aquia Creek sandstone, the monuments are carved in blocks with a squat base and a conical cap. The inscriptions are on small marble panels affixed to the block. Latrobe's design, characterized by clean, straight lines and a lack of ornamentation, was quite distinct from the typical grave markers of the period, and foreshadowed modern architecture by almost a century. For a period of time, the cenotaphs were whitewashed.
"The term cenotaph is defined as a tomb or monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere. The original cenotaphs did not remain true to this term, as they mark the burials of senators and congressmen. The date of the first cenotaph installation in Congressional Cemetery is unknown. Latrobe's earliest sketch dates to 1812, but it is unclear if any cenotaphs were extant at this time.
"For many years, congressman and senators who died locally were buried under cenotaphs in Congressional Cemetery. This was largely attributable to the significant cost of transporting the deceased back to their home districts, and to the lack of modern embalming techniques. After 1835, interments of non-local federal officials in the cemetery began to wane, and by the 1855 this practice essentially stopped.
"Despite the change in tradition, monuments continued to be erected in the cemetery, honoring congressmen who died in office and were interred in other cemeteries. These cenotaphs are not distinguished from the true burial markers. Reportedly, the installation of cenotaphs ceased in 1876 when Congressman George Frisbie Hoar of Massachusetts caustically remarked that being buried beneath one would add new terrors to death...I cannot conceive of an uglier shape to be made out of granite or marble than those cenotaphs now there.
"Of the 169 cenotaphs at Congressional Cemetery, 113 remain true to the term, honoring those who are interred elsewhere. The identical design was used for 56 monuments erected as grave markers.
"Many of the cenotaphs in Congressional Cemetery are in an advanced state of deterioration, due to the poor quality of Aquia Creek Sandstone, and years of neglect. Starting in 2007, the National Cemetery Administration has partnered with the Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) of the National Park Service to rehabilitate and stabilize the cenotaphs. HPTC will document, clean and repair the cenotaphs using appropriate methods, with the goal of preserving as much of the original fabric of the monuments as possible.
"Congressional Cemetery, including the lots administered by the National Cemetery Administration, was listed on the National Register for Historic Places in June 1969."
Source: Cemeteries - Congressional Cemetery Government Lots - Burial and Memorial Benefits
The Histopolis Grave Index for Congressional Cemetery contains 465 entries with 389 unique surnames.
Explore Congressional Cemetery on Histopolis now. If you have a place that you would like to see featured as the Histopolis Place-of-the-Day, contact the webmaster to suggest it.
|1||Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside County, California|
|2||Quincy National Cemetery, Quincy, Quincy Township, Adams County, Illinois|
|3||Fort Custer National Cemetery, Ross Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan|
|4||Finns Point National Cemetery, Pennsville Township, Salem County, New Jersey|
|5||Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell Precinct, Lincoln County, Nebraska|
|6||Wood National Cemetery, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin|
|7||Mound City National Cemetery, Mound City Precinct, Pulaski County, Illinois|
|8||West Virginia National Cemetery, Taylor County, West Virginia|
|9||Lebanon National Cemetery, Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky|
|10||Rock Island National Cemetery, Moline Township, Rock Island County, Illinois|
|11||Little Rock National Cemetery, Little Rock, Big Rock Township, Pulaski County, Arkansas|
|12||San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Merced County, California|
|13||Marion National Cemetery, Marion, Center Township, Grant County, Indiana|
|14||Port Hudson National Cemetery, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana|
|15||Fort Mitchell National Cemetery, Russell County, Alabama|
|16||Mill Springs National Cemetery, Pulaski County, Kentucky|
|17||Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, Springfield Township, Greene County, Missouri|
|18||Saint Augustine National Cemetery, Saint Augustine, Saint Johns County, Florida|
|19||Confederate Cemetery, Alton, Alton Township, Madison County, Illinois|
|20||Staunton National Cemetery, Staunton, Staunton City, Virginia|
|21||Soldiers' Lot, Woodland Cemetery, Mound City, Mound City Township, Linn County, Kansas|
|22||Soldiers' Lot, Baxter Springs Cemetery, Spring Valley Township, Cherokee County, Kansas|
|23||Puerto Rico National Cemetery, Bayamón, Bayamón Municipio, Puerto Rico|
|24||Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles County, California|
|25||Memphis National Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee|
|26||Grafton National Cemetery, Grafton, Taylor County, West Virginia|
|27||Crown Hill Confederate Plot, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana|
|28||Soldiers' Lot, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Augusta, Kennebec County, Maine|
|29||Fort Bliss National Cemetery, El Paso County, Texas|
|30||Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia|
Note: The first Place-of-the-Day was in September 2010