Here in Montgomery County, Maryland, we are being invaded by millions of periodical cicadas (from Brood X). Nowhere is safe, even Aspin Hill Memorial Park.
Around 1901, Dr. David E. Buckingham, a veterinarian, established a pet cemetery in a wooded area of Washington, D.C. east of Mt. Olivet Cemetery. The land is now part of the U.S. National Arboretum.
In an earlier post about Dr. Buckingham, I mentioned looking for this pet cemetery in 2020, without success. On February 23, 2021, I searched again, accompanied by an architectural historian and an archaeologist who had additional information about where the cemetery might be. This time, we had better luck. I found the site of the pet cemetery, but alas there is nothing left but two old gate posts.
Dr. Buckingham picked a lovely spot for his pet cemetery. It’s on the side of a hill overlooking (in the distance) Kingman Lake and the northern section of Kingman Island. Farther out, you can see the Anacostia River.
Perhaps there are still dogs and cats buried there, but there were no visible grave markers. Any further investigation of the site would probably require the approval of the Federal government, something I’m not inclined to pursue. It’s probably better to let it return to nature. Still, I’m glad I got to see it, and its beautiful vantage point.
“Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery: 100 Years of Pets, People, and the Stories Behind the Stones,” by Julianne Mangin. The Montgomery County Story, Fall 2020, vol. 63 no. 2. pp. 1-21.
Published by Montgomery History (formerly known as the Montgomery County Historical Society).
This is the most comprehensive history of the Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery to date. Print copies can be obtained from Montgomery History. This issue will be available in PDF once the next issue is published.