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Congressional Cemetery offers a unique window into American history. As the premier burial ground for 19th Century Washington, Congressional Cemetery began collecting an assembly of prominent civic leaders, architects, military oficers, and men of commerce. In time came the leaders of civil rights movements, explorers of the world, artists, and diplomats. This collection of outstanding individuals allows us to tell the American story from an untold number of aspects and makes Congressional Cemetery a unique historic place ~ making its preservation and restoration efforts all the more important.
Historic preservation as a general concept is simple enough but when it comes to actually doing it, things are not always so clear. As a preservation organization, The Association encounters sometimes conflicting philosophies in the approaches to restoration work. A philosophical framework helps in making decisions and guiding our work.
Congressional Cemetery's brick burial vaults provide a key element of the look and feel of our burial ground. Classical in style, historic in character, these 150 year old structures are undergoing much needed restoration work in our Tomb Restoration Program. Visit our tomb restoration pages to see how it's done.
The gravestone is the final marker we leave behind for generations to come. These heavy pieces of history, imposing as they may be, can and do suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Stone conservation ranges from simple resetting to complex pinning and epoxy operations to help them make to the next century.
Historic landscapes strive to tell us the story of what's happened on the land. As important as the biographies and artifacts associated with a place, the land itself can often speak to us of its experience. Congressional's soft hills and quiet indentations whisper that time is fleeting. Preserving the character of the land enhances the visitor's awareness of its and our place in history.
Cemetery records leave an interesting trail for future genealogists and historians. Plot purchases, interment authorizations, death certificates, obituaries, and old photographs each lay out a piece of a puzzle called a life. Organizing and preserving these thousands of documents ensures future generations may someday experience the joy of discovery.
Oddly enough, we find historic preservation to be endlessly fascinating. A widely diverse catalogue of issues, curiosities, and fun facts arises in cemetery preservation work. From time to time, we hope to leave short essays on our latest discoveries or thoughts.
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