Tours and History

Tours

 

The Burying Ground is open to the public daily during daylight hours.

Approximate times:

Summer 8:00am to 7:00pm

Fall 8:00am to 6:00pm

Winter 8:00am to 5:00pm

Spring 8:00 to 6:00pm

Exhibits are placed through out the Burying Ground that explains the history of the Grounds and give the biographies of many of the people buried here.  The outside Burying Ground is free of charge.  The Catacombs and Westminster Hall are only available to see with a tour guide.  

Public guided tours are offered on the first and third consecutive Friday (at 6:30 p.m.) and Saturday (at 10 a.m.) of each month April - November.  Reservations are required and a total of at least 15 people need to be signed up in order to run the tour.  Fees are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children (12 and under) and seniors (60 and up).

Private tours may be scheduled at other times for any size group.  This must be done in advance and deposit is required at least two weeks prior to the tour date. Prices for private tour vary depending on when the tour is held.

Tours last approximately one hour and include the Burying Ground, Catacombs, Westminster Hall (if available), and a fifteen minute film on the history of the Burying Ground.  Tours can be scheduled between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., pending tour guide and date availability.

The annual Halloween Tour is scheduled for October 31 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. featuring continuous tours of the Hall, Catacombs, and Burying Ground.  No reservations are required.

Please contact us for more details at 410-706-2072 or info@westminsterhall.org.

History

 

 

Westminster Burial Ground, originally Westminster Presbyterian cemetery, was establisted in 1786.  In 1852 the church was constructed on brick piers above the graves, creating remarkable catacombs. 

The Burying Ground is the gravesite many notable persons, 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, 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.

  • alt text one
  • alt text two
  • alt text three
  • alt text four
  • alt text five