Congressional Cemetery – Washington, D.C. - Atlas Obscura

Congressional Cemetery

The privately owned cemetery that holds room for Washington's finest when they step down from life. 


The Congressional Cemetery or Washington Parish Burial Ground is a historic yet active cemetery located at 1801 E Street, SE, in Washington, D.C., on the west bank of the Anacostia River. It is the only American “cemetery of national memory” founded before the Civil War. Over 65,000 individuals are buried or memorialized at the cemetery, including many who helped form the nation and the city of Washington in the early 19th century.

Though the cemetery is privately owned, the U.S. government owns 806 burial plots administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Congress, located about a mile and a half (2.4 km) to the northwest, has greatly influenced the history of the cemetery. The cemetery still sells plots, and is an active burial ground. From the Washington Metro, the cemetery lies three blocks east of the Potomac Avenue station and two blocks south of the Stadium-Armory station.

Many members of the U.S. Congress who died while Congress was in session are interred at Congressional Cemetery. Other burials include early landowners and speculators, the builders and architects of early Washington, Native American diplomats, Washington mayors, and Civil War veterans. Nineteenth-century Washington, D.C. families unaffiliated with the federal government also have graves and tombs at the cemetery.

A Vice-President, a Supreme Court Justice, six Cabinet members, 19 Senators, and 71 Representatives — including a former Speaker of the House — are buried in the cemetery, along with veterans of every American war and J. Edgar Hoover, the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1969, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011.

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