I also paid a visit to Ivy Hill Cemetery. It is a beautiful place, and the situation is a very commanding one. – Ezekiel Homespun, Alexandria Gazette, October 13, 1859, "Pen Portraits of Alexandria, Virginia, 1739-1900," Edited by T. Michael Miller.
Cemeteries are sacred ground but they can also serve as a place that can educate us about the past. In Old Town, historical markers can be found in graveyards at Christ Church, Old Presbyterian Meeting House, Contraband Cemetery, and the Alexandria National Cemetery.
Northwest of the historic district on sloping former farmland lies Ivy Hill Cemetery at 2823 King Street. Established formally in 1856, the first burials at Ivy Hill took place in 1811. Unlike those other cemeteries in Old Town, Ivy Hill Cemetery is mostly unseen from passing cars.
We’ve talked about going, and finally decided to do so this morning. In the main office, we picked up a map and tour published by the Historical Society of Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Here are the highlights of our visit.
The Circle of Honor Firefighters Memorial. The obelisk is dedicated to seven firemen killed in the 1885 fire on King Street.
This is a American Hornbeam tree. Very distinctive, in the way its branches start high up.
The cemetery has plenty of shade and privacy. Timber Branch Creek runs along the lower portion. The Historical Society’s Fall 2007 Newsletter notes that, “it was common for families to gather under the trees on a Sunday afternoon while the adults caught up on the news and gossip, while the children played.
The brochure guides you to 17 spots, including the graves of Dr. Werner von Braun, Banjamin Stringfellow, Nicholas Trist, Elton B. Hummer, and Anne S. Frobel.
In closing, we provide a reminder about cemeteries.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy the beautiful grounds at Ivy Hill. We ask only that visitors behave in a way that shows respect for those who rest here. While the cemetery is park like, it is not a public park; moreover, it is not public property, it is private property. We are dedicated to the preservation of the cemetery grounds as an attractive, reverent setting for the sacred burial of the dead; accordingly, we ask and expect all persons entering the cemetery to observe our rules and regulations.