Glenwood Cemetery is a historic cemetery located at 2219 Lincoln Road NE in Washington, D.C. It is a private, secular cemetery owned and operated by The Glenwood Cemetery, Inc. Many famous people are buried in Glenwood Cemetery, and the cemetery is noted for its numerous elaborate Victorian and Art Nouveau funerary monuments. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017; its mortuary chapel was separately listed in 1989.
Establishment of the cemetery
On June 5, 1852, the Council of the City of Washington in the District of Columbia passed a local ordinance that barred the creation of new cemeteries anywhere within Georgetown or the area bounded by Boundary Street (northwest and northeast), 15th Street (east), East Capitol Street, the Anacostia River, the Potomac River, and Rock Creek. A number of new cemeteries were therefore established in the “rural” areas in and around Washington: Columbian Harmony Cemetery in D.C.; Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Silver Spring, Maryland; Mount Olivet Cemetery in D.C.; and Woodlawn Cemetery in D.C.
The property which became Glenwood Cemetery was first owned by John Dixon, and original patentee of the District of Columbia. In 1809, Dixon sold the land to Dr. Phineas Bradley. Bradley renamed it Clover Hill, and built a large home in the northeast corner of the land. Bradley entertained some of the city’s most notable residents, including Senator Henry Clay. Bradley sold the property in 1845, and it changed hands many times over the next nine years. By 1854, it was owned by Junius J. Boyle.
In June 1852, Joseph B. Close, William S. Humphreys, Randolph S. Evans, and George Clendenin purchased the 90-acre (360,000 m2) Clover Hill from Junius J. Boyle for $9,000 for the purpose of creating a secular cemetery. Humphreys put a high fence around 30 acres (120,000 m2) of the site and laid out walks and roads. Clendenin was appointed superintendent of the cemetery in March 1853. Close had loaned Humphreys $27,000 to make his improvements, and in April 1853 Humphreys gave Close a 50 percent interest in the premises. The remaining half interest was given to Close in June 1854. Close agreed that if Humphreys repaid the debt, Close would give him half the land back.
On July 27, 1854, Congress passed legislation granting a congressional charter to and establishing The Proprietors of Glenwood Cemetery. The cemetery association was governed by a board of 12 people (who had invested a total of $100,000 in creating the cemetery): Four from the District of Columbia, plus Close, Humphreys, Evans, and William Phelps (a resident of New Jersey). The board was empowered to appoint a president and three managers. The charter specified that no more than 100 acres (400,000 m2) could be held by the association, and at least 30 acres (120,000 m2) must be used as a cemetery. The congressional charter also provided that no streets could be built through the cemetery. Congress specifically exempted all cemetery land (but not unimproved land) from taxes.
|Owned by||The Glenwood Cemetery, Inc.|
|Size||90 acres (360,000 m2)|
|Find a Grave||Glenwood Cemetery|
|The Political Graveyard||Glenwood Cemetery|