About Columbia Gardens Cemetery – History & Location

The Columbia Gardens Cemetery is a cemetery located in the Ashton Heights Historic District of Arlington, Virginia The Columbia Gardens Cemetery is located at the southern boundary of the Ashton Heights Historic District and is one of its most prominent features.


The cemetery was created by the Alexandria Park Association, incorporated in 1914 in Huntington, West Virginia. The president of the association was Colonel Robert Dye, former superintendent of the Arlington National Cemetery, and its principal founder was Julius Broh. Another founder was Harry Randolph Thomas, great-grandfather of the current president, Daun Thomas Frankland. The Thomas family has been responsible for the cemetery since it opened in 1917.

In the proposal to the Arlington County Board, the Association indicated the intent to “make a place that will be attractive as a park and a credit to the county.
Having won approval from the county, in November 1917, the Association’s board of directors employed a landscape architect from Cleveland, Ohio, a Mr. Jenney, to prepare the design, specifications, and methods of procedure for operating a cemetery.

The Columbia Gardens Cemetery is an example of merging landscape design and city planning based on the principles set down in the late 19th century by designers such as Frederick Law Olmsted and subsequently developed by the City Beautiful movement. However, as opposed to the linear plans advocated by City Beautiful for urban design, Jenney preferred a more rural cemetery design, with winding roads and natural landscape features.

The “park” initially encompassed nearly thirty-eight adjoining acres, with an option to purchase an additional thirty acres.[1] The Columbia Gardens Cemetery has been family operated for four generations. At present it is one of the few cemeteries in the Northern Virginia area offering available burial sites with the option of an upright monument. Other options range from columbarium niches to family mausoleums.

Upon entering the main gates on Arlington Boulevard, a main driveway passes a rose garden beyond which lie the winding alleys of the cemetery, providing a natural setting of dignity and grace for reflection on loved ones who have gone before.

Originally at Arlington National Cemetery and now at the top of the main driveway of the cemetery, the mausoleum where Admiral of the Navy George Dewey, was placed upon his death until he was moved by request of his wife to a crypt at Bethlehem Chapel of the Washington National Cathedral. The mausoleum was purchased from Arlington National in 1933 and has been used as a receiving vault.

Location 3411 Arlington Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia
Coordinates 38°52′26″N 77°05′25″WCoordinates38°52′26″N 77°05′25″W
Built 1917
Part of Ashton Heights Historic District (ID03000561[2])
NRHP reference No.
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