Established in 1786 as Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery, Westminster Burying Ground is the grave site of some of Baltimore‘s most notable historical individuals — including, Edgar Allan Poe, 300 veterans of the American Revolution and War of 1812, some of Charm City’s earliest civic and political leaders, as well as Poe’s wife (and cousin) Virginia Clemm Poe, his mother-in-law (and aunt) Marie Poe Clemm and his grandfather, David Poe, Sr. are buried at the cemetery.
Edgar Allen Poe was originally buried in a then-unmarked grave towards the back of the cemetery. But in 1875, local school children raised money through a “Pennies for Poe” project: Poe’s remains were moved, so that he’s now buried with his wife and mother-in-law near the front of the cemetery with a monument to the writer placed nearby.
Built on a series of brick piers above a portion of the cemetery, Westminster Presbyterian Church was completed in 1852. The church was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1974 and remained open until 1977. The Westminster Preservation Trust, Inc. was established under the leadership of the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law.
The Trust completed a renovation of Westminster Hall in 1983 to preserve and restore the building’s historic features while adapting the building for contemporary use. Westminster Hall is now used for weddings, receptions, lectures, conferences and other events.
Westminster Hall and Burying Ground has both local and national significance while being a peaceful little oasis in the middle of Downtown Baltimore. Last Friday, the flowers were in full bloom, bees buzzed by and the few folks who wandered into the cemetery walked by with a hushed and thoughtful reverence.