Restoration and Maintenance Programs

Oak Hill Cemetery is 160 years old, having been incorporated by Act of Congress on March 3, 1849. Renwick's Chapel of 1849 and his iron enclosures still grace this major example of a cemetery of the 19th Century Romantic Movement, a natural and not formal English garden accepting and blending with nature rather than being a geometrical imposition on nature. The greatest proponent of the natural garden and its application to cemeteries was Andrew Jackson Downing and there is evidence, but no conclusive record, that he did the landscape designs of Oak Hill Cemetery.

In 2013-14, the Cemetery initiated a program of historic restoration involving the Renwick Chapel.  The entire slate roof and roof infrastructure were replaced with the original purple slate from Vermont. Water damage to the interior ceiling and walls were repaired. Also the brick casket storage vaults under the floor were examined and it was discovered they were damaged by water from above and repaired. Also the mortar over the entire building was taken out and replaced. This extensive work had to be performed because of a failing roof and the subsequent damage it caused to the rest of the building. The Board of Managers made the decision to do this restoration as comprehensive as possible to insure the integrity of the structure for many decades.

In addition to the chapel restoration program the Cemetery is constantly reviewing and maintaining the Cemetery’s structures, the walkways, the Gatehouse, maintenance buildings, and the stone wall bordering Rock Creek due to age and wear.

In 1873, the founder of Oak Hill Cemetery, William Wilson Corcoran wrote “…and still is, my strong desire to make and keep the Cemetery in a condition to excite the admiration of the strangers, and to give the lot holders, in the time to come, a beautiful resting place for their loved ones from home.”

It is our desire to carry out Mr. Corcoran’s wishes, and we reach out to all who appreciate the beauty of this unique Cemetery.

Your ongoing support of Oak Hill Cemetery is appreciated. Please click here for more information on making a donation to the Oak Hill Cemetery Historic Preservation Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) organization to which tax-deductible donations may be made. We also accept donations to the Oak Hill Cemetery, the not-for-profit entity that operates the Oak Hill Cemetery, and to Friends of Oak Hill, a separate account used for purchasing plant materials and hardscape equipment to enhance the grounds. Donations to these accounts are also deductible because they are to the Oak Hill Cemetery Company, and not-for-profit cemetery association operating under the IRS Code 501 (c) (13). Lastly, donations to the Joe Pozell Fund, honoring the former Superintendent, may also be made and fall under the same designation as Oak Hill Cemetery Company.

 

 

Renwick Chapel undergoing extensive restoration.
The entire slate roof and roof infrastructure were replaced
Continued maintenance in the Cemetery due to age. Gravestone on the verge of toppling.