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Archaeological Investigations National Museum of the American Indian Site Washington, D.C.

Congressional Cemetery

Congressional Cemetery, located at 1801 E Street, S E Washington, D.C. was founded in 1807 by a group of Capitol Hill residents. Five years later, the cemetery was turned over to Christ Episcopal Church. Part of the cemetery was selected for the internment of members of Congress; hence the name Congressional Cemetery.

The handsome "cenotaphs" or monuments to congressmen who died in office from 1807 to 1877 were designed by Benjamin Latrobe. Many of the cenotaphs serve as monuments, not graves, to the congressmen. Less than 80 bodies were interred under them.

Link to Rows of identical cenotaphs
Rows of identical cenotaphs
link to jpg of monuments are reserved for Congressmen.
Monuments are reserved for Congressmen.
link to jpg of John Quincy Adams' monument
John Quincy Adams' monument
Link to picture of Tip O'Neill's monument
Tip O'Neill's monument

The cemetery hosts a rich collection of funeral sculpture spans the early 19th century to the present day. It is open seven days a week.

link to image of footpath
Footpath, DC Jail in the background
link to image
A beautiful day.
link to image of a headstone
An interesting headstone
image of a headstone
An interesting headstone

In the 1830's Mary Ann Hall built and ran a large brothel in a convenient location near the U.S. Capitol Building. When the provost marshal published a list of Washington's bawdy houses in 1864, Mary Ann Hall's first-class house, with 18 "inmates," employed far more prostitutes than any other brothel in the city. Mary Ann Hall continued to run her high-class operation at its corner into the 1870s. She apparently retired as madam around 1878. In 1883 Mary Ann Hall rented part of her property in Reservation C to the Washington Dispensary, which set up a women's health clinic. The dispensary appears to have lasted only a few years in Reservation C, however, probably due to the death of its landlady, Mary Ann Hall, in 1886.

Link to picture of Mary Hall's gravestone
The mourning woman - Mary Hall's gravestone.
Link to picture -A closer view of Mary Hall's gravestone
A closer view of Mary Hall's gravestone.
link to image base of Mary Ann Hall's marker
The base of Mary Ann Hall's marker.

Mary Ann Hall's obituary in the Evening Star read "Departed this life, 2 am Friday January 29, 1886, Mary A. Hall, long a resident of Washington. With integrity unquestioned a heart ever open to appeals of distress, a charity that was boundless, she is gone; but her memory will be kept green by many who knew her sterling worth." She was buried in Congressional Cemetery. Her grave, which remains in the cemetery, is marked by a large and dignified marble gravestone that features a female figure mourning over an urn. The adjacent gravestone in the large family plot commemorates her mother and a sister, who both died in the 1860s.

image hall family plot
The Hall family plot. Elizabeth Hall's resting place on the left; Mary Hall's on the right.
Link to jpg of notice of welcome stone behind Elizabeth Hall
Notice the WELCOME stone behind Elizabeth Hall's.
jpg Elizabeth Hall's gravestone
The Angel is Elizabeth Hall's gravestone
Link to base of Elizabeht Hall's marker jpg
The base of Elizabeth Hall's marker.

At the entrance is a map of the grounds where visitors may locate the graves of notable persons buried in Congressional Cemetery. These include architects William Thornton and Robert Mills; Choctaw Indian Chief Push-Ma-Ta-Ha; Civil War photographer Matthew Brady; John Philip Sousa, the Marine Corps bandmaster; and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Link to map of entrance jpg
Map at entrance
Link to jpg of J. Edgar Hoover's family plot
J. Edgar Hoover's family plot

For more information on Congressional Cemetery please call the cemetery office at 202-543-0539.

Photographs by Mignon Erixon-Stanford, Smithsonian Institution.

Information on Congressional Cemetery from The Outdoor Scupture of Washington, D.C. by James M. Goode, published by Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1974.

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