Five Final Presidential Resting Places
If you are a history buff, a visit to these five final presidential resting places is both educational for kids and a nice way to see the country as it reopens for adults.
Last year, we suggested a road trip to visit and pay tribute to modern heroes like John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Feel free to mix the old and new with the detours that work for your trip.
George Washington, Virginia
America’s first president, George Washington, is buried at his Mount Vernon estate. He left instructions before he died for a brick tomb to be built to replace a crumbling family burial vault. He died in 1799 and was moved to the new tomb and burial place in 1831 with Martha and other family members. There is a daily wreath-laying ceremony at Mount Vernon that is open to the public. Guests can also visit a slave cemetery and slave memorial. This sacred ground was used as a cemetery for those enslaved and a few free blacks who worked at Mount Vernon in the 18th and 19th centuries. The slave memorial was created by architectural students at Howard University and opened in 1983.
John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Massachusetts
The second president of the United States is buried in Quincy, Massachusetts. He died in 1826 at the age of 90. His crypt is located at the United First Parish Church, sometimes called the Church of the Presidents. For 53 years, the U.S. president has sent a wreath once a year to honor him and John Quincy Adams (his son) who was the sixth president and is also buried there.
Abraham Lincoln, Illinois
The sixteenth president is buried along with his wife and three sons at the Oak Ridge Cemetery. His body was moved several times as work progressed on the Lincoln Tomb and was hidden after an attempt to steal his body. It was 10 years before he was moved to his final resting place, a concrete vault 10 feet below the burial room under a marble floor.
The Lincoln Tomb was named a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, New York
The burial site of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt is run by the National Park Service. FDR is the only president to have served more than two terms for a total of 12 years.
The 32nd president died in 1945 after guiding America through the Depression and died just before the end of World War II. It’s located in Hyde Park in Dutchess County, New York on his family’s estate. FDR had wanted to be buried in his mother’s rose garden and wrote instructions about this and other wishes in 1937, though they weren’t immediately located before his funeral. The logistics of returning him to the New York state estate were complex after his death in Georgia, with thousands paying tribute to him along the way.
John F. Kennedy, Virginia
The nation’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy, spoke at Arlington Cemetery on Veteran’s Day in 1963, just eleven days before his death. He’s one of two presidents buried at the nation’s most storied cemetery. Though many believed Kennedy would be buried in his home state of Massachusetts, after consulting Kennedy’s brother, Robert Kennedy, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (both of whom are also buried there now), First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy chose a site that could be widely accessible to the public.
The gravesite is just one of many belonging to notable Americans including astronauts, Supreme Court justices (including Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Thurgood Marshall and Earl Warren) and prominent leaders in the military, politics, arts and sports.
You can find a comprehensive list of presidential gravesites on the Findagrave website.
Photo: Matt Briney