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Congressional Cemetery


photo1220386562696Founded in 1807, Congressional Cemetery soon became the site of what can be considered America’s first national cemetery.  Like many cemeteries in the nineteenth Century, Congressional Cemetery served as a park for city dwellers.

Beginning in 1816, plots were set aside for the burial of congressmen.Although it was never officially designated as a ‘national cemetery’ as early as the 1820s the site was popularly held as the ‘national burying ground’.Over 60,000 people are now residents of Congressional Cemetery, including such notables as John Philip Sousa, J. Edgar Hoover, Mathew Brady, Vice President Elbridge Gerry – a signer of the Declaration of Independence – and 37 Native Americans including tribal chiefs.

After years of neglect, the past decade has seen a vigorous and most positive turnaround in its preservation and interpretation.This optimistic trend befits a site whose history is a nationally significant touchstone to that of the early republic.  Check out their website for links to fascinating history, a short video of the bicentennial festival, and tour of the grounds.

This site is in the Capital Hill Neighborhood.

What do volunteers do?

You’ll be gardening and doing outside maintenance to keep the cemetery in good shape.

What time/days are available?

You are asked to be there at 9:00 am, when you will receive an orientation about the Cemetery and the site you will be working to restore.The work period finishes at noon. But you should bring your lunch (staff will provide beverages) and stay for an interesting guided tour. Service can be scheduled for Mondays through Fridays.

Contact: Their staff at at 202-543-0539 or  staff@congressionalcemetery.org to schedule a volunteer opportunity!

Historic Congressional Cemetery
1801 E Street SE
Washington DC 20003