Prospect Hill Cemetery

Washington, DC
United States
Prospect Hill Cemetery

Landscape Information

Founded outside of city limits in 1858 by the German Evangelical Society,and incorporated in 1860 by an act of the U.S. Congress, this once rural cemetery was plotted on elevated ground with views of the U.S. Capitol. Located in the Edgewood neighborhood, the cemetery, originally comprising seventeen acres, has decreased in size over time, beginning with the loss of three acres when North Capitol Street was extended in 1897. The extension divided the cemetery in two, leaving an undeveloped five acres (which was sold in 1922) west of the road. Original structures, including a farmhouse that antedated the cemetery and a chapel, were demolished in the mid-twentieth century. A stone retaining wall was built around the burial ground in 1917, and a gatehouse dating from 1873 was replaced in 1927 as part of the cemetery’s realignment of the main gate from Lincoln Street to North Prospect Street. A stone superintendent’s house was added adjacent to the new entrance that same year. Following decades of decline and budgetary constraints, the cemetery began to be beautified in the early 2000s. Roads and fences were repaired, and a memorial garden was introduced along its northern edge to screen the adjacent Glenwood Cemetery’s maintenance yard. 

The cemetery features rows of grave markers and curvilinear roadways weaving through gently rolling terrain interspersed with large deciduous canopy trees. Aligned on axis with Lincoln Road, a prominent ellipse-shaped plot with a densely planted interior is intersected by radial paths. Several nineteenth-century mausolea are situated near the cemetery’s entrance, a pair of stone gates that blend seamlessly with the surrounding retaining wall topped by iron fencing.