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 interest and support for Oak Hill Cemetery would be appreciated.  If you would like to help us perpetuate this lovely Cemetery, please click here for more information on how you can make a donation to Oak Hill Cemetery Preservation Foundation. This tax-deductible fund was set up to pay for the repairs to the Renwick Chapel. A separate fund was set up to support the continuing maintenance of the Cemetery: Friends of Oak Hill Beautification Fund. Both funds are 501(c)3 compliant and likely to be a tax advantage to the donor. Please see your tax advisor for details.

 

 

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.