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Your feature article on Washington cemeteries (“Romancing the Stones,” 6/25) was enjoyable, but a bit more information on our local cemeteries is in order:
The city currently holds 23 burial grounds (not including the various church columbariums); a knowledgeable friend estimates that we have had as many as 250 throughout our history. These include church and synagogue sites, and military, private institutional, and purely commercial sites. Some of these are entirely or largely inactive (Mount Zion, Holy Rood, Woodlawn, among others); some accept burials only from designated communities (three Catholic institutions, such as the Franciscan community at the monastery, and the five Jewish cemeteries in southeast Washington); but the majority will take burials from anyone who can afford the plot. In condition, they range from a few very haggard sites (Woodlawn is the most in need of renovation now, though others could stand improvement) to some that are virtually manicured (Rock Creek and Soldier’s Home come to mind).
For simple beauty, your readers should visit Oak Hill in Georgetown (open Monday through Friday), with Rock Creek and Glenwood offering competition. Most D.C. cemeteries are historic to some degree, but Congressional and Battleground stand out in this regard.
You will be interested to learn that Congressional and Woodlawn (with which I am associated) have organized a citywide Cemetery Roundtable to bring together the managers and groundskeepers of all the city’s sites. We hope to have our second meeting in the fall.