Memorial Day has long since come and gone but that doesn't make the history of D.C.'s cemeteries any less fascinating. That one across the river in Arlington may be the most well-known and certainly not all of the city's graveyards are as well kept and well guarded. However, there are several Civil War era grave sites that have made it onto the National Register of Historic Places. Plus, D.C. is more than just a place of rest for politicians and soldiers. Did you know that the founder of Wonder Bread is buried within our borders? How about patriotic composer John Philip Sousa? Check out our map below to find out where to find the final home for many of these luminaries.Read More
For History Buffs: A Map of Washington's Cemeteries
Arlington National Cemetery
It's easily the most famous of the D.C. area's cemeteries due to its history, its size and its occupants. Once the property of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's wife, Mary Anna, it was established as a military cemetery during the Civil War. One of its most famous crypts is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the Tomb of the Unknowns on account of having the remains of three soldiers (albeit four graves). Eligibility for burial in Arlington National Cemetery is pretty stringent: only active duty or retired military and their immediate family can be buried there and only if they meet a host of other criteria. President John F. Kennedy is buried at Arlington and his remains one of the most visited gravesites. On account of the cemetery's early closing hours, the Arlington Cemetery metro stop also closes before the rest of the system. Photo by Brandi Korte.
Battleground National Cemetary
Abraham Lincoln dedicated this site after the Battle of Fort Stevens: a Civil War battle that took place in 1864. It's one of America's smallest cemeteries at only one acre and only 40 of the Union soldiers killed in that particular battle and one veteran are actually buried there. This cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places and just underwent restoration. Photo by David King.
This cemetery is one of the oldest on our map and although it was established in 1807, it remains active. Various members of Congress are buried there as well as first FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and patriotic composer John Philip Sousa. It's also home to a structure called The Public Vault where bodies have been held prior to receiving proper burials. The Public Vault has held Presidents Zachary Taylor, John Quincy Adams and William Henry Harrison. It also held first lady Dolley Madison for two years before her eventual burial offsite. Unsurprisingly, this cemetery is also on the National Register of Historic Places and has Landmark status. Photo by Tim Evanson.
This cemetery is home to several representatives, an early mayor of D.C. and cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman who first drew the now famous Teddy Bear. When cemetery owner Joseph Close divorced his wife a few decades after the dedication of the cemetery, ownership thereof played into the split. The case went to the Supreme Court. Photo by Flickr user hellomarkers!
Holy Rood Cemetery
Holy Rood Cemetery is one of two cemeteries on this map owned by Georgetown University. Although its high vantage point over the city and its status as a slave burial ground make it unique among the city's cemetery, its is notoriously in ill repair. Photo by Victoria Pickering.
Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Mount Olivet is D.C.'s largest Catholic Cemetery and has a wealth of beautiful memorials and sculptures. One of the most famous people buried there is Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator in the Lincoln assassination. It's also one of the only cemeteries that has been integrated from its inception in 1858. Photo by Flickr user NCinDC.
Methodist Cemetery (Tenleytown)
There is very little on record about this Tenleytown Cemetery, but it's been on the National Register of Historic Places for the past five years. Photo by Flickr user Oblivious Dude.
Mt Zion Cemetery - Female Union Band Cemetery
Mount Zion is actually a combination of two separate cemeteries: the Female Union Band Cemetery and the Methodist Burying Ground. The societies and churches that owned the land used it primarily for the burials within the African-American community. The cemetery has been closed to new burials since 1950. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Photo by Elvert Barnes.
Oak Hill Cemetery
This 22 acre cemetery is still active and includes a botanical garden. A slue of Congressional Representatives are buried here as well as Katharine Graham, who presided over the Washington Post. Photo by Flickr user NCinDC.
Prospect Hill Cemetery
Prospect Hill Cemetery was initially dedicated to the area's German-American population. Although it suffered its fair share of vandalism after the riots of 1968, it's in much better shape today. Photo by Michael Galkovsky.
Rock Creek Church Yard & Cemetery
This cemetery is notable for its sculptures and mausoleums. Among others, this public cemetery is home to Teddy Roosevelt's daughter Alice and Charles Corby who created Wonder Bread. Photo by Flickr user NCinDC.
St. Elizabeth's Hospital
St. Elizabeth's East Campus is home to a Civil War Cemetery. Unlike some of the other Civil War cemeteries in the area, St. Elizabeth's contains soldiers from both the Union and Confederate sides of the war. Photo by erin m.
United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery
This is yet another cemetery from the Civil War era. Notably, there are 21 Medal of Honor recipients buried at this site. It's also the only other cemetery (besides Arlington National Cemetery) that falls under the administration of the Department of the Army. Photo by Steve Fernie.
Washington National Cathedral
The interesting thing about the burials at Washington National Cathedral is that some of them are indoors. President Woodrow Wilson has a tomb and the site shown above, that of Admiral George Dewey, is inside the recently vandalized Bethlehem Chapel. Photo by Tim Evanson.
Historic Woodlawn Cemetery
The Woodlawn National Cemetery is one of many spots featured in Cemetery Tours like the one shown above. It ceased to be active in 1970 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1990s. One of the congressmen buried there, Blanche K. Bruce, is particularly notable because he was born into slavery in 1841. Photo by Flickr user nmplaces.
Bet Mishpachah Cemetery
This Hebrew cemetery in Southeast D.C. is actually a part of a larger cemetery called the Elesavetgrad Cemetery. Three other Hebrew cemeteries are located nearby. While burial in Bet Mishpachah is restricted to members, it does not exclude interfaith couples.
Jesuit Community Cemetery
This cemetery is odd in that it's placed right in the middle of the Georgetown University campus. This Jesuit cemetery is actually in its second location on the university grounds. Photo by Eric Chan.