Mt. Olivet Cemetery

During multiple trips to the Art Matters Gallery for my recent “Faith in Action” exhibition, I’ve driven past the Mt. Olivet Cemetery along Bladensburg Road in northeast D.C. The first time I saw it, I was so distracted by the massive, looming gravestones that I nearly hit the car beside me.

Mt. Olivet Cemetery is the largest Catholic cemetery in the district, and sits perched atop a tree-covered hill that overlooks the city. It has some of the largest grave markers I’ve seen, plus a chapel and lots of Washington Monument replicas.

I decided to drive over to the cemetery yesterday and explore. Weather forecasters had predicted rain for the afternoon, so the place was deserted and eerily quiet. I usually prefer photographing people, but this time I found myself focusing on Mt. Olivet’s somewhat disconcerting landscaping and monuments.


Posted in: Fine Art, Photojournalism.


  1. Margaret J. Bowen Greenbelt, MD says:


    Really loved your pictures at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. I have many relatives (including my husband and an infant son – 1985 and 1956)buried there, at least from the 1800’s. My nephew just discovered the stone of my great, grandfather (John Sharkey), buried in 1857. No one had seen it for years as it had fallen over and covered up all this time. My nephew and niece searched for it and found it “buried” under several inches of dirt. Personnel had it uncovered and the name is barely visible and, of course it must remain laying flat.

    My grandfather, Norman W. Wrenn, purchased a large stone in Sec. 25 for his wife – Ella Sharkey Wrenn – in 1905 (I think). His 16 y.o. son was buried at that spot several years later and, then, NWW was buried there in 1942 (?). My parents Julia (Wrenn) and Maurice H. Jarvis were buried there in 1970 and 1960. At the time the grave was purchased, it was for 12 persons – three on each side, buried two deep. However, with caskets becoming much larger, it would no longer hold 12 bodies.

    Margaret J. Bowen, Greenbelt, MD.

  2. Warren Baltes says:

    I, too, loved your photos. Alot of history there, including the grave of Civil War MOH recipient Orlando E. Caruana. I am friends with a descendent of his here in Buffalo, retired Army General Anthony Caruana. I have been hunting (unsuccessfully)for a picture of Orlando (who died in 1917) for quite some time as part of a surprise for the general. Can you offer any “hints” that would help?

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