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The three-acre Mount Zion Cemetery/Female Union Band Society Cemetery is composed of two roughly equal-sized halves, the Mount Zion Cemetery on the east and the Female Union Band Society Cemetery on the west, separated along a subtle north-south ridge in the center of the property. The northern and eastern property lines border Rock Creek Park, and the western line follows a ravine along the Twenty-Seventh Street, N.W., right-of-way (an unimproved public road) heading to Rock Creek. Approximately three-quarters of the length of the southern boundary is formed by Mill Road, with the remaining eastern portion of the southern line bordering a private apartment building. Historically called the Old Methodist Burying Ground, the cemetery originated as a churchyard burial ground and subsequently evolved in terms of changing ownership and frequency of use. It was established by the Montgomery Street Methodist Church in 1808, which gathered at the Montgomery Street Meeting House, formerly located on Twenty-Eighth Street between M and Olive Streets, N.W. (formerly Montgomery Street between Bridge and Olive Streets), approximately one-half mile southwest of the cemetery.1


Although churchyard burial grounds were traditionally located on the same site as, or surrounding their parent church, another nearby example of an early nineteenth-century churchyard burial ground located away from its parent church is the former Presbyterian Burying Ground (1802), which was located on the site currently bounded by Thirty-Third and Thirty-Fourth Streets, Volta Place, and Q Street, N.W. Its parent church, the Bridge Street Presbyterian Church, was located at the corner of Thirtieth and M Streets, N.W. (formerly Bridge and Washington Streets), over one-half mile to the southeast.2

  1. Jane Donovan, Many Witnesses: A History of Dumbarton United Methodist Church 1772-1990, ed. Jane Donovan (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton United Methodist Church, 1998), 11.

  2. Paul E. Sluby, Sr., Bury Me Deep, (Washington, 2009), 112.

Continue reading the full history of the cemetery

Mt. Zion Cemetery History

This history was prepared by EHT Traceries as part of a preservation planning project funded in part by a grant received by the DC Preservation League (DCPL) with the support from the Dorothea de Schweinitz Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The project was also funded in part by a contribution from the Mt. Zion Female Union Band Historic Memorial Park Inc.

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