The largest restoration project in decades at Georgetown’s Oak Hill Cemetery is now finishing up, replacing the roof of the small 1853 chapel designed by James W. Renwick Jr.
The chapel, a national historic landmark located near the front entrance of the hillside cemetery, is the District’s sole example of Renwick’s Gothic Revival church style. The architect is best known for designing St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and in D.C., the Smithsonian Institution’s “Castle” building.
At Oak Hill, the nondenominational Renwick Chapel has hosted funerals for the past 164 years, with notable guests including presidents and cabinet members. The chapel has changed little since 1853, aside from replacement of its stained-glass windows in the 1880s, then later upgrades to provide electricity and heating.
“What you see is what it was,” Dave Jackson, the superintendent of Oak Hill Cemetery, said in a recent interview.