In the 19th century, the Victorian public often took their picnics to cemeteries. For the seventh time, we resurrect this beautiful tradition from long ago (and dress the part in our own interpretations)! A great way to enjoy the Spring weather! Please invite your freaky friends !!
There is NO COST FOR THIS EVENT. Just BYO food to have and to share. Drinks will be available via a donation bar so DO BRING MONEY for that. All donations benefit the Cemetery.
Previous Goth-Victorian picnics in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2012 and 2013 were wonderfully peaceful and pleasant gatherings in a historic and moving place. Combined, picnicking Goths have raised over $2,000 for the preservation and restoration of this sad yet hauntingly beautiful historic cemetery.
Please come out, hang with friends, eat, and converse without yelling over club music!. And please bring checks or some cash. When you see this special place, you may well wish to contribute to efforts to help save it.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS---
10:00am OPTIONAL volunteer fence painting party. "Paint It Black" (Of course.)
11:00 Volunteers show up to help set up tents and tables. (Please post here that you will help!)
12:00 - 3:00pm Cemetery Picnic -We have the use of the Chapel this year so will be in there or on the grounds around the front door.
3:00pm Cemetery tour - volunteer tour guides needed and welcome.
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING---Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E St SE, Washington, DC 20003. Metro: Take the Orange/Blue line to Potomac Avenue Station, walk three blocks east from 15th and Potomac to front gate at 18th and Potomac. Parking is readily available on the nearby streets, but a two hour time limit is enforced in some areas so pay heed.
CO-HOSTS/VOLUNTEERS NEEDED--- I cannot do this event alone. I need people to help me make this event happen. Bar Tender? Acoustic Musician? Photographer? Set up / Take down? Tour guide? (Tour Guides could attend a regular Cemetery tour which takes place 11:00 every Saturday.)
MORE ABOUT THE CEMETERY --
Congressional Cemetery was established in 1807 by a group of private citizens. Today, it is still in the hands of a non-governmental not-for-private group dedicated to its preservation. It is neither owned nor administered by the U.S. Congress but, because so many historical figures are buried or memorialized here, the Congress has from time-to-time voted occasional contributions to the cemetery’s up-keep. When an 18th century bill for that purpose referred to it as “Congressional Cemetery,” the name stuck. For the most part, however, Congressional Cemetery must rely on private contributions for its preservation.
This was America’s first de-facto national cemetery. Before there was an Arlington and before there was a national cemetery system, this was the resting place for America’s war heroes, politicians, Indian chiefs, explorers, foreign diplomats as well as socialites, merchants, prostitutes and working people of the new nation’s then-brand-new capitol city.
Here one finds the unique, square “cenotaph” monuments to Senators and Congressmen who died in office. The public vault here was the temporary resting place of John Quincy Adams, Dolly Madison, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor and many others before they were moved to their final resting place. Congressional Cemetery is the burial place of some 60,000 people including 2 Vice Presidents, 3 presidential candidates, 10 mayors of Washington, 3 Librarians of Congress, over 80 members of the House and Senate as well as privates and generals of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, Mexican War, and Union and Confederate soldiers, and one hell of a successful prostitute. Here you will also find George Washington’s secretary, Abraham Lincoln’s landlady, his valet and even one of the conspirators in his assassination buried in a deceptively marked grave. And, as mentioned above, one very tragic silent film starlet.
Among the names in stone here are Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence whose crafty redrawing of political boundaries gives us the word, "gerrymandering;" Matthew Brady, the renowned civil war photographer; John Phillips Souza, leader of the Marine band and composer of patriotic music; and J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI. (ahem)
Congressional Cemetery is as much art as it is history. Its 32 acres are a veritable outdoor museum of 19th century poetry and sculpture dedicated to tragic losses of Washington’s beloved, honored, prominent and even notorious. A deeply touching experience awaits in near every inscription.
For many years, Congressional Cemetery was a prominent place in the Capital City but, by the end of the 20th century the cemetery had fallen into disrepair. It was overgrown with weeds, vandalism was rampant and wild dogs were seen roaming the grounds. In 1997, The National Trust for Historic Preservation named the cemetery one of the 11 most endangered historic place in the US noting,
Like most early cemeteries, Congressional was established without a perpetual care plan. As plot-owning families moved or died out, the site suffered from neglect, vandalism and theft. Increased pollution poses an additional threat. Today, the tax-exempt, non-profit Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery works to save this special piece of American history.
To more fully appreciate the special nature of this place, visitors are invited to take advantage of the written and the recorded versions of our walking tours. Wander the old brick paths, read the stones and become a part of history. And if you can, please try to make a financial contribution to help rescue and preserve Congressional Cemetery.
For more info, see the official website: