For the first time in the history of the nearly 100-year-old Glover Park neighborhood, residents may now reserve space for their final resting place or that of their loved ones at Holy Rood Cemetery. Holy Rood, at 2126 Wisconsin Avenue NW in Glover Park (not in Georgetown), was established 188 years ago by Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown as its parish cemetery. Holy Trinity completed - and opened to the public - a columbarium at the end of last year. A niche of the columbarium may be purchased individually, and each may store one or two urns.
The columbarium, defined as “a structure of vaults lined with recesses for cinerary urns” consists of 645 niches in two parts – 99 niches built into the back of the existing crypt, and 546 niches in a new granite wall facing the crypt. The crypt niche costs $12,000 and the wall niche costs $9,000. Your final resting place may be purchased online here, but not on Amazon. The last burial plot sold at the cemetery of 7,000 burials took place in 1915, years before Glover Park was formed as a neighborhood, and alas, the cemetery has been closed to new burials since 1985.
Currently, the land is owned by Georgetown University, which acquired the four parcels between 1849 and 1855. One plot in 1849 was deeded by William C. Corcoran, a Washington DC banker and founder of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. He also purchased the land and organized the development of the historic Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown. John Marbury, son of William Marbury (“Marbury vs Madison”), had a claim on the same plot and deeded his interest later in 1854. A second plot was deeded by Jesuit Reverend Thomas Mulledy in 1853 after he had left his role as president of Georgetown College. A few months prior, William Hardy conveyed his share to Georgetown College as well, both of which expanded the size of the cemetery. The final piece of the puzzle was conveyed to Georgetown College in 1855 by Leonard and Marion Clements.
The 6.5 acre Holy Rood Cemetery across the street from Glover Park’s Trader Joe’s has a long and storied history. It is the final resting place of veterans of the Revolutionary War and Civil War, formerly enslaved blacks and their free descendants, European immigrants who helped build the city and other prominent Washington DC figures.
Funds from the sale of the columbarium niches will be used to improve the cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair over the decades, and maintain it through a Perpetual Care Endowment. Upkeep will be a joint venture between Holy Trinity and Georgetown University. Priority for columbarium niche purchases are given to G.U. alumni, faculty and staff; Holy Trinity parishioners; and descendants of those buried at the cemetery. As of this writing, more than half of the niches in the crypt and the wall remain available for purchase. You do not need to be Catholic to rest in peace in Glover Park.
Images from Holy Trinity's columbarium niche sale advertising.