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Preservation of an historic burial ground isn’t just about the old buildings and tomb stones; it’s also about the character of the place. That includes the trees and shrubs, certainly, but the landscape architecture can also speak of ways and means that are no longer practiced in our day. The lay of the land, its scars and mistakes, as well as its improvements and expansions, all tell a story about our history, our interactions with this rolling, green corner of the Earth.
Our new development plan, created with the help of world-renowned Oehme van Sweden, will set the stage for Congressional Cemetery service as a burial ground to the city and the nation for many decades to come.
As the sun sets beyond the horizon, shadows gently rise up to claim the shallow depressions, leaving no doubt as to what this place is all about. Even if you took away all the headstones, you wouldn’t need an interpretive sign to tell you it’s a graveyard.
Historic Landscape Architecture
As one of the oldest institutions in Washington DC, situated on one of the least disturbed pieces of land in the District, Congressional Cemetery offers many clues to how 19th Century landscape architecture managed space, activity, and Mother Nature.
Historic Storm Water Management
Ignore it and it will wash you away; manage it and it will do your bidding. Historic storm water management systems at Congressional Cemetery provide insight into fast disappearing 19th Century landscape architecture and craftmanship.
Intepreting Old Maps
Most urban spaces bulldoze and rebuild. Cemeteries tend to evolve. Landscape oddities, object placement puzzles, and construction difficulties can often be solved by looking back at old maps, which offer a unique way of learning history.
Gravesite Numbering Evolution
Range & site numbers, section & square numbers, north & south, and next to where the big oak tree used to be; understanding the evolution of the lay of the land helps make sense of the numbering system so you can find your loved ones.
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