I used a little vacation time at work this morning and went on an longer than usual bike ride for today’s lunchbreak. I rode to D.C.’s Rock Creek Church Yard, also known as Rock Creek Cemetery, located at 201 Allison Street (MAP) in northwest D.C.’s Brightwood Park neighborhood. I’ve been there once before during my lunchtime bike rides, but it is a quite large cemetery and I wanted to go back when I would be able to take more time to explore and not have to rush to get back to my office.
The cemetery was first established in 1719, on the grounds of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rock Creek Parish, making the pre-Revolutionary War cemetery, as well as the church, the oldest in the city. But I will explore the church and more of the cemetery’s history on another ride and in another blog post. On today’s ride I went to explore the 84-acre grounds in search of some the statuary and unusual gravestones for which the cemetery in renowned.
There are a number of notable interments in the cemetery, including a signer of the Constitution, Senators, Congressman, presidential cabinet secretaries, a Supreme Court Justice, ambassadors and diplomats, mayors, military officers, Medal of Honor recipients, prominent businessmen, college professors, and even a former KGB Agent and defector from the Soviet Union. But the statuary is often marking the graves of lesser known individuals whose stories are either known only by their families, or lost to time.
Each of the cemetery’s statues and grave makers are unique in design. In the following photos I attempted to capture some of the unusual and interesting ones that are prevalent throughout the cemetery. Depending on their age, many are worn and weathered. But those aspects of the monuments only add to their aesthetics. I took the photos in black and white because to a varying degree it helped bring out the lines and shadows of the statues and markers. And it just seemed appropriate. Be sure to click on the photos to view the full-size versions, and then zoom in to see some of the intricacies and details of each.
My visit to the Rock Creek Church Yard ended up being an interesting and thought-provoking time, and I got in a 25-mile bike ride too. It was a great mini vacation during the middle of a workweek. But there’s so much more there to see and experience, I’m sure I’ll be going back again soon.