A veritable museum of funerary art, Cedar Grove Cemetery in the city of Portsmouth is one of Virginia’s early municipal burial grounds. By the early 19th century such public places of interment had become essential for urban areas. Churchyards were filling up and private urban burials caused sanitation problems. Private burials were legally forbidden until 1832, the same year that Cedar Grove Cemetery was established. Public cemeteries became objects of local pride and were embellished with fine monuments. Many echoed contemporary architectural fashion; thus Greek, Egyptian, Gothic, and Renaissance styles are evident here. Monument types include mausoleums, Celtic crosses, obelisks, and angel statues. Symbolic motifs such as wreaths, torches, and anchors abound. Local history is told with the prominent individuals buried here, among whom are John L. Porter, designer of the ironclad Virginia, and George W. Grice, first mayor of the independent city of Portsmouth.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark