Congressional Cemetery

Your Guide
Liz Guthrie, ASLA

Congressional Cemetery, a 35-acre site located at Potomac Ave and 17th Street, SE, was established in 1807 as a burial site for U.S. public servants. Today, the cemetery holds over 60,000 individuals and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011. While the layout of the cemetery closely follows the geometry of L’Enfant’s street plan, a redesign in 2006 attempted to realign the landscape with the underlying topography near the banks of the Anacostia River.

The main access to the cemetery is through a set of gates which lead visitors down a wide tree-lined driveway toward a small church, resting on axis with a main east-west walkway. This location gives a sense of the cemetery’s scale and gently rolling topography as well as its relation to the surrounding landscape in Southeast D.C., which includes row houses to the north and west, a large city jail to the east, and the Anacostia River to the south.


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