Historic Woodlawn Cemetery

Welcome to Historic Woodlawn Cemetery

Woodlawn Cemetery entrance

Nestled in the heart of Ward 7 in Washington, DC, historic Woodlawn Cemetery sits on 22.5 acres, serving as the final resting place for more than 36,000 individuals.  While walking through the rolling hills of Woodlawn Cemetery visitors will find many recognizable individuals who contributed to local and national history.

Our history begins with Graceland, an integrated cemetery founded in 1872, and located near the intersection of Benning Road and H Street NE.  Facing the impending urbanization of the area, several individuals associated with Graceland Cemetery decided to move Graceland to a more rural area.  In 1895, historic Woodlawn Cemetery was founded.  Initial interments in Woodlawn, from 1895 to 1898, were primarily re-interments of more than 6,000 people from Graceland Cemetery.   Subsequent interments included many prominent African Americans, among them Blanche K. Bruce, born a slave in 1841 and elected to the U.S. Senate in 1875, and John Mercer Langston, U.S. Representative from Virginia and Dean of the Howard University Law School from 1869 to 1879.  In honor of the prominence of many of the interred, Woodlawn Cemetery was placed on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites in 1991 and on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.


Woodlawn Cemetery has not been an active cemetery since 1970.  Over the years, the site has eroded, filled with overgrowth, and headstones have been damaged or sunk.  The all-volunteer associations of Woodlawn Cemetery are dedicated to restoring the cemetery, preserving  historic records, and sharing all that we learn along the way.      

2006 brought us many successes!   Within the past several months,  Woodlawn Cemetery was cleared of debris and overgrowth, historic burial records are being transcribed into an electronic database, and the area surrounding the Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce plot has been restored.  Much has been accomplished, but we still have a long way to go. 

Restoration efforts in 2007 include grading the grounds to minimize erosion, restoration of broken/toppled headstones, continuing entry of burial records into an electronic database, installation of flagpoles, and beautification of historic Woodlawn Cemetery.  Also, we are designing an outreach program to share Woodlawn’s history with students and the community.  All funding for the restoration and preservation of Woodlawn Cemetery is received from donors and organizational grants. 

Whether you have family at Woodlawn or have interests in local history or genealogy, you will find a wealth of information here.   Please feel free to contact us if you need any further information.

Copyright 2007-2013, Woodlawn Cemetery

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