Ahead on the hill is Holy Rood Cemetery, the first Catholic parish cemetery in Washington. Established by Georgetown's Holy Trinity Church in 1832, the cemetery contains the remains of more than 7,300 whites and African Americans, both enslaved and free. Two free blacks who died in 1834 were Joseph Nevitt, a Revolutionary War veteran, and Lidia Butler, a Holy Trinity parishioner and the godmother of 38 children, both free and slave, who were baptized at the church.
If you go down Wisconsin Avenue and turn left on R Street, just past Montrose Park is Georgetown's largest burial ground. Oak Hill Cemetery sits on 22 acres of winding paths and terraces that descend into Rock Creek Valley. It is a major example of the 19th-century romantic landscape movement that called for a natural blending of plantings rather than formal gardens.
Oak Hill Cemetery was begun in 1848 by William Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The beautifully proportioned Gothic Revival chapel on the highest ridge of the cemetery was designed the following year by James Renwick, a pre-eminent 19th-century architect, who also designed the Renwick Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution's Castle on the National Mall.
Among the many notables buried at Oak Hill are the Peter family, descendants of Martha Washington; Joseph
Henry, scientist and first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Philip and Katharine Graham, publishers of the Washington Post; and three women convicted as Confederate spies.
Farther east, behind residential buildings at 27th and Q Streets, is Mt. Zion Cemetery. The cemetery combines the biracial Old Methodist Burying Ground, founded in 1809, and the historically black Female Band Society Cemetery, founded in 1842. The graveyard was saved in part when it was declared a National Historic Landmark in the 1950s.