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Mapping the Hidden Locations of 10 Long-Gone Burial Grounds

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"There's a good probability if you dig anywhere in DC that's been undisturbed you will uncover evidence of human remains," said Paul Sluby, genealogist and historian of DC's cemeteries. We at Curbed previously mapped all of the cemeteries in Washington, D.C., but now it's time to dig a little deeper with locations where cemeteries once were. What was once a crypt is now a metro station, a mall, or even an apartment complex. Thousands of bodies remain unearthed below developments, and people walk above these plots of land unknowingly, shopping for clothes or commuting to work.


· Ghosts of DC

· Cemeteries east of the river have rich histories [Greater Greater Washington]

· Gone But Not Forgotten: Cemeteries in the Nation's Capital [Historic Preservation Office]
· http://dc.curbed.com/archives/2013/08/for-history-buffs-a-map-of-washingtons-cemeteries.php [Curbed DC]

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Columbian Harmony Cemetery

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Take the metro much? This African-American cemetery was constructed in 1859. 100 years later, the land was sold to construct the Rhode Island Avenue — Brentwood Washington Metro station. The graves were moved to the National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, Maryland.

Eastern Methodist Cemetery

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This privately owned Methodist cemetery was constructed in 1824 with with 1,830 burial plots. By the 1890's, the cemetery became so overpopulated that it eventually held more than 3,000 bodies with multiple burials in each grave. After the removal of bodies from the cemetery to construct building lots, about 1,000 bodies remained unearthed.

Graceland Cemetery

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Graceland Cemetery was founded in 1871 as a privately owned secular cemetery, but primarily served the city's African American community. From 1884 to 1885, more than 1,200 bodies were transferred to Holmead's Burying Ground. The disinterment process eventually led to a lawsuit. The remaining bodies were disinterred by 1897. The land is currently used for the Hechinger Mall.

Holmead's Cemetery

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This privately owned secular cemetery was constructed in 1794 and eventually was closed in 1820 when the city took ownership over the land. The land is now used for the President Madison Apartments.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church Cemetery

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While headstones and memorial markers were removed in the 19th century, hundreds of graves still remain underneath the Lower School at Holy Trinity Church.

Payne's Cemetery

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This 1851 privately owned secular cemetery primarily served the city's African American community and was declared abandoned by the city in 1966. After about 2,000 bodies were reinterred at National Harmony Memorial Park cemetery in Prince George's County, Maryland, the land was used to construct Fletcher-Johnson Elementary School and the Fletcher-Johnson Recreation Center in the late 1960s.

Presbyterian Burying Ground

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The Presbyterian Burying Ground was one of the most prominent cemeteries in the city until the 1860s. After 1892, 500 to 700 bodies were reinterred, and the land was then bought to use for housing. The District of Columbia later bought the land in 1909 and built Volta Park, leaving nearly 2,000 bodies buried at the site.

St. Elizabeths Hospital Cemetery

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The headstones remain, but this Civil War cemetery closed many years ago with nearly 300 bodies unearthed from the Civil War. The cemetery is still visible from I-295 on a hillside slope.

Washington's Tomb

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Washington's Tomb is a small chamber in the basement of the Capitol building. While designed to entomb George Washington's body, his body was instead buried at Mount Vernon.

Woodlawn Cemetery

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Since its construction in 1895, the Woodlawn Cemetery remained the preeminent cemetery for the city's African American population into the 1950s. Thousands of bodies from Graceland Cemetery were transferred to Woodlawn Cemetery in the late 19th century. With poorly kept records, though, many bodies were buried in the incorrect plots. The cemetery became decrepit by the 1970s, and despite attempts to restore it, there was not enough funds to fully improve the conditions.

Columbian Harmony Cemetery

Take the metro much? This African-American cemetery was constructed in 1859. 100 years later, the land was sold to construct the Rhode Island Avenue — Brentwood Washington Metro station. The graves were moved to the National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, Maryland.

Eastern Methodist Cemetery

This privately owned Methodist cemetery was constructed in 1824 with with 1,830 burial plots. By the 1890's, the cemetery became so overpopulated that it eventually held more than 3,000 bodies with multiple burials in each grave. After the removal of bodies from the cemetery to construct building lots, about 1,000 bodies remained unearthed.

Graceland Cemetery

Graceland Cemetery was founded in 1871 as a privately owned secular cemetery, but primarily served the city's African American community. From 1884 to 1885, more than 1,200 bodies were transferred to Holmead's Burying Ground. The disinterment process eventually led to a lawsuit. The remaining bodies were disinterred by 1897. The land is currently used for the Hechinger Mall.

Holmead's Cemetery

This privately owned secular cemetery was constructed in 1794 and eventually was closed in 1820 when the city took ownership over the land. The land is now used for the President Madison Apartments.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church Cemetery

While headstones and memorial markers were removed in the 19th century, hundreds of graves still remain underneath the Lower School at Holy Trinity Church.

Payne's Cemetery

This 1851 privately owned secular cemetery primarily served the city's African American community and was declared abandoned by the city in 1966. After about 2,000 bodies were reinterred at National Harmony Memorial Park cemetery in Prince George's County, Maryland, the land was used to construct Fletcher-Johnson Elementary School and the Fletcher-Johnson Recreation Center in the late 1960s.

Presbyterian Burying Ground

The Presbyterian Burying Ground was one of the most prominent cemeteries in the city until the 1860s. After 1892, 500 to 700 bodies were reinterred, and the land was then bought to use for housing. The District of Columbia later bought the land in 1909 and built Volta Park, leaving nearly 2,000 bodies buried at the site.

St. Elizabeths Hospital Cemetery

The headstones remain, but this Civil War cemetery closed many years ago with nearly 300 bodies unearthed from the Civil War. The cemetery is still visible from I-295 on a hillside slope.

Washington's Tomb

Washington's Tomb is a small chamber in the basement of the Capitol building. While designed to entomb George Washington's body, his body was instead buried at Mount Vernon.

Woodlawn Cemetery

Since its construction in 1895, the Woodlawn Cemetery remained the preeminent cemetery for the city's African American population into the 1950s. Thousands of bodies from Graceland Cemetery were transferred to Woodlawn Cemetery in the late 19th century. With poorly kept records, though, many bodies were buried in the incorrect plots. The cemetery became decrepit by the 1970s, and despite attempts to restore it, there was not enough funds to fully improve the conditions.