About Us

Mission Statement

Historic Congressional Cemetery preserves, promotes, and protects our historic and active burial ground. We respectfully celebrate the legacy of those interred here through education, historic preservation, community engagement, and environmental stewardship.

  • Burial sites are still available to the general public.
  • Congressional Cemetery is open to the public everyday from dawn to dusk. Unless special circumstances require it, we do not allow cars to drive in, but welcome visitors to walk around the grounds and explore the history that is here.
  • Tour groups are welcome. We do ask however that the group organizer or tour guide call our office to alert us to your arrival and to confirm that there are no special events scheduled that may conflict with your visit. Our office number is 202-543-0539.
  • We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit who realizes its mission in large part through charitable donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Your donation is tax deductible according to Federal law. Please donate today!
  • Partial funding for the preservation and maintenance of Historic Congressional Cemetery is provided by the 1998 Congressional Cemetery Endowment, which was created with matching funds provided by the Congress of the United States and administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • HCC rents the 35 acre site from the owner, Christ Church Washington Parish.

Cemetery Map

Cemetery Alexandria VA


A. The cemetery had no formal name for its first four years. After it was deeded to Christ Church on Capitol Hill, its name became “Washington Parish Burial Ground.” In 1830, after Congress had purchased several hundred sites, built monuments to Members who died in office and appropriated money for improvements, the public and the members of Congress began referring to it as “Congressional burying ground”. Eventually that was shortened to “Congressional Cemetery.”

A. No. We are a non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation, The Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery, and have a long-term lease to operate all aspects of the cemetery operations.

A. Yes and yes. Click here to contact Director of Site Sales and Funerals, Lily Buerkle, if you are interested in more information.

A. They’re called cenotaphs, which means “empty tomb.” Congressional Cemetery is home to 171 cenotaphs, which honor members of Congress who died in office during the first several decades of the Nation’s history. Designed by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who was then working on the new south wing of the Capitol, these identical Aquia Creek sandstone cenotaphs reflected the classical inspiration that was shaping the city plan and its new Capitol building. They were a marked departure from the typical shape and size of early American gravestones, which were generally colonial-type tablets. Historic photos show that the cenotaphs were painted white at some point. Despite Latrobe’s best intentions, public opinion of the cenotaphs tended to be less than favorable even in the earliest years of the burying ground and the use of the cenotaphs discontinued in 1876 when Senator Hoar of Massachusetts argued that this tradition should be abandoned saying that “the thought of being buried beneath one of those atrocities brought new terror to death.”

A. The Cemetery is always open during daylight hours for self-guided walking tours. Copies of the tours are available at the gatehouse, or can be downloaded here. Free, docent-led tours are held every Saturday from April through October at 11am, beginning at the front gate of the cemetery. We have many other special tours and events throughout the year. Click here for a calendar.

A. You can search by last name here. If the name you are searching for is not there, probably the person for whom you search is not at Congressional Cemetery.

Board of Directors

  • Richard Greene, Chairperson
  • Heather Alarcon, Vice Chairperson
  • Sid Neely, Treasurer
  • Stephanie Lipscomb, Secretary
  • The Rev. John Kellogg
  • Sam Cornale
  • Jamie McGinnis
  • Joseph Imamura
  • Rhonda Sincavage
  • Larry West
  • Nathan Neal
  • RuthAnn Clark
  • Deborah Perry
  • Julia Roberson
  • Ruth Kroeger