Westminster Burial Ground, originally Westminster Presbyterian cemetery, was established in 1786. In 1852, the church was constructed on brick piers above the graves, creating remarkable catacombs.
The Burying Ground is the grave site of many notable individuals, most famous for the burial place of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was originally buried in an unmarked grave towards the back of the cemetery. In 1875, the school children of Baltimore raised money through a "Pennies for Poe" project and a monument was dedicated to Poe at the entrance of the cemetery. Poe is buried with his wife, Virginia Clemm Poe and mother-in-law Maria Poe Clemm. The Burying Ground is also the final resting place for a number of generals and heros of the American Revolution and War of 1812 including General Sam Smith. Other patriots buried here are John Hollins, Robert Gilmor, John Stricker, Nathaniel Ramsay, James Stirling, John McDonogh, Robert Calhoun, Paul Bentalou, James McHenry and James Buchanan.
The Burying Ground features Maximilian Godefroy’s Egyptian Revival Gates located at the Greene Street side of the cemetery. The gravestones throughout the Burying Ground includes decorated tablets, slabs, and granite vaults.
As the resting place of nearly 300 veterans of the American Revolution and War of 1812, many of whom were civic and political leaders, as well as literary legend Edgar Allan Poe, Westminster Burying Ground is a historical and cultural treasure of local, state, and national significance.
The church was completed in 1852 and remained in active use until 1977. In 1974, Westminster was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites. In 1977, Westminster Preservation Trust, Inc. was established under the leadership of University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. The Trust completed a renovation of Westminster Hall in 1983 to preserve and restore the historic features and adapt the church for contemporary use. Westminster Hall is now used for weddings, receptions, lectures, conferences, and other events.
For more information on those buried at Westminster Burying Grounds please see the Cemetery Guide.
In the Media:
American Road, Volume X VII, Number 3, Finding Poe, Poe's Memorial Grave,