Rock Creek Cemetery

Coordinates: 38°56′52″N 77°0′47″W / 38.94778°N 77.01306°W / 38.94778; -77.01306
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Rock Creek Cemetery
Rock Creek Cemetery in September 2008
Rock Creek Cemetery is located in the District of Columbia
Rock Creek Cemetery
Rock Creek Cemetery is located in the United States
Rock Creek Cemetery
LocationWebster Street and Rock Creek Church Road, NW, Washington, D.C., U.S.
Coordinates38°56′52″N 77°0′47″W / 38.94778°N 77.01306°W / 38.94778; -77.01306
Area84.2 acres (34.1 ha)
Architectural styleGothic Revival
NRHP reference No.77001498[1]
Added to NRHPAugust 12, 1977

Rock Creek Cemetery is an 86-acre (350,000 m2) cemetery with a natural and rolling landscape located at Rock Creek Church Road, NW, and Webster Street, NW, off Hawaii Avenue, NE, in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., across the street from the historic Soldiers' Home and the Soldiers' Home Cemetery. It also is home to the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington.

On August 12, 1977, Rock Creek Cemetery and the adjacent church grounds were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Rock Creek Church Yard and Cemetery.


The Adams Memorial was designed by famed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens as a gravestone for Clover Adams, who died by suicide in 1885. A replica sits in the National Portrait Gallery.
The mausoleum's interior at Rock Creek Cemetery

The cemetery was first established in 1719 in the British colonial Province of Maryland as a churchyard within the glebe of St. Paul's Episcopal Church within the Rock Creek Parish. Later, the vestry decided to expand the burial ground as a public cemetery to serve the city of Washington, D.C., which had acquired the cemetery within its boundaries as established in 1791. The cemetery was formally recognized and established through an Act of Congress in 1840.

An expanded cemetery was landscaped in the rural garden style, to function as both a cemetery and a public park. It is a ministry of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Rock Creek Parish, with sections for St. John's Russian Orthodox Church and St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral.

The park-like setting of Rock Creek Cemetery has many notable mausoleums, sculptures, and tombstones. The best known is the Adams Memorial, a contemplative, androgynous bronze sculpture seated before a block of granite that was created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Stanford White. It marks the graves of Marian Hooper Adams and her husband, Henry Adams, and sometimes, mistakenly, the sculpture is referred to as Grief.[2][3] Saint-Gaudens entitled it The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding.

Other notable memorials include the Frederick Keep Monument, the Heurich Mausoleum, the Hitt Monument, the Hardon Monument, the Kauffman Monument that is known as The Seven Ages of Memory, the Sherwood Mausoleum Door, and the Thompson-Harding Monument.[4]

Sculptors of works in the cemetery[edit]

Numerous fine works by unknown sculptors also exist in the cemetery.[5][6][7]

Notable interments[edit]



Gravesite of Emile Berliner and family members





  • Charles S. Fairfax (1829–1869), Virginia-born California politician who was entitled to the British title 10th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
  • Stephen Johnson Field (1816–1899), Associate justice of US Supreme Court
  • Peter Force (1790–1868), politician, U.S. Army lieutenant in the War of 1812, newspaper editor, archivist, and historian, who served as the twelfth mayor of Washington, D.C., and whose library of historical documents became the first major Americana collection of the Library of Congress
  • Israel Moore Foster (1873–1950), Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • James Edmund France (1906–1920), brother of the co-founder of NASCAR
  • William H. French (1815–1881), major general during the American Civil War and the Mexican War


Gravesite of Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor




Gravesite of Oliver Hudson Kelley





  • Carmel Offie (1909–1972), Central Intelligence Agency official



Gravesite of George Washington Riggs


Gravesite of Upton Sinclair



Gravesite of Charles Doolittle Walcott
Grave of Burton K. Wheeler



  • Helen Yakobson, (1913–2002) academic and professor at George Washington University[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Saint-Gaudens, Augustus" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 5.
  3. ^ "1886 The Adams Memorial". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-06-29.
  4. ^ "Cultural Tourism DC". Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  5. ^ Goode, James M. The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1974 pp. 343–352
  6. ^ Kvaran, Einar E., Cemetery Sculpture in America, unpublished manuscript
  7. ^ Marion, John Francis, Famous and Curious Cemeteries, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1977 pp. 78–80
  8. ^ Flitter, Emily (2018-11-07). "Evelyn Y. Davis, Shareholder Scourge of C.E.O.s, Dies at 89". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  9. ^ "Dr. Susan Edson Buried". Washington, DC: The Evening Star. 15 November 1897. p. 13. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Henry Ellsworth Ewing, 1883–1951". Journal of Economic Entomology. 44 (2): 270. 1951. doi:10.1093/jee/44.2.270.
  11. ^ United States Congress. "Thetus W. Sims (id: S000441)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  12. ^ McGrath, Charles (1 August 2012). "Gore Vidal dies at age 86". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Halifax Media Group. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Wright, John Vines". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2022-10-04.
  14. ^ "Support Yakobson".

External links[edit]