Westminster Hall and Burial Grounds gives you the chance to descend into catacombs and visit the graves of Baltimore notables including Sam Smith and James McHenry. Most famously, the graveyard is also the final resting place of the father of horror stories, Edgar Allan Poe.
Opened in 1786 by the First Presbyterian Church, the Westminster Graveyard is the resting place for many of Baltimore’s biggest names, including merchants, mayors and no fewer than 15 generals from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. In 1852, the church that occupies the property was built on brick piers over some of the tombs, creating what is now known as the “Baltimore Catacombs.” Although notables such as Sam Smith and James McHenry are buried here, the most famous resident is Edgar Allan Poe. When he died in 1849, Poe was originally buried in an unmarked grave next to that of his grandfather in the back of Westminster. Later in 1875, Poe’s body was moved to the front of the graveyard with a dedication ceremony that included the American poet Walt Whitman. Adding to the mystery that surrounds Poe, Baltimore lore has it that the re-interment in 1875 got the wrong poor soul into the new grave (probably not true) and that the current monument has Poe’s birth date wrong (true).
Please join us for a tour through the church, the catacombs and a walk through the graveyard with Baltimore historian Dean Krimmel. Our tour takes place the day after the 167th anniversary of Poe’s death, so feel free to bring along your black cape, roses, and a bottle of amontillado for a toast!
Street parking is available in the area surrounding the graveyard. Please meet at the front of the church.