Rostrums in National Cemeteries - National Cemetery Administration
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National Cemetery Administration

 

Rostrums in National Cemeteries

The rostrums built in national cemeteries have served as speakers’ stands during ceremonial occasions. The U.S. Army Quartermaster’s Department developed these well-placed structures in response to the public’s enthusiastic adoption of national cemeteries as places of memorial commemoration and patriotism in the aftermath of the Civil War. Two standard designs were the basis for all rostrums constructed in the nineteenth century. A major phase of new cemetery construction that began from the late 1930s and ended after World War II, included rostrums designed in a variety of regional, neoclassical and revival styles.

At a minimum, a rostrum is a structure composed of a raised base and roof. Fort Scott (KS) National Cemetery and Richmond (VA) National Cemetery (below) represent the oldest examples. The rostrum at Fort Scott has a rectangular footprint and a trellis roof. It was erected in 1882, substantially altered in 1931, and NCA rebuilt it to the original appearance in 2016. The octagonal rostrum at Richmond, 1888, has a brick base with cast-iron steps and railing; the metal roof was removed in the twentieth century. But a rostrum of the same design is extant at nearby Poplar Grove (VA) National Cemetery, an National Park Service site. Together these structures illustrate the original octagonal rostrum developed by the Quartermaster’s Department in the 1870s.

Plans and elevations of the rostrums at Fort Scott National Cemetery (left) and Richmond National Cemetery (right), Library of Congress.
Photographs of the rostrums at Fort Scott National Cemetery (left) and Richmond National Cemetery (right), NCA.

Top: Plans and elevations of the rostrums at Fort Scott National Cemetery (left) and Richmond National Cemetery (right), Library of Congress. Below: Photographs of same. NCA.

Rostrums Documented for the Historic American Landscapes Survey

Of all the rostrums built between 1873 and 1956 in what are now NCA-managed properties, thirty-seven are often the centerpiece of Memorial Day events. These are significant components of historic cemetery settings and a testament to commemorative traditions in the United States.

For this reason, national cemetery rostrums were the subject of a research and documentation project completed for the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) in 2014. The HALS collection is housed at the Library of Congress. The history reports, drawings, and photographs prepared about the national cemetery rostrums also may be found here.

No.

Cemetery Name (Station No.)

HALS No.

HALS Documentation

 

National Cemetery Administration, Rostrums

DC-47

National Cemeteries Rostrums

1.

Alexandria, Louisiana (825)

LA-4-B

Alexandria LA National Cemetery Rostrum

2.

Alexandria, Virginia (826)

VA-2-C

Alexandria VA National Cemetery Rostrum

3.

Alton, Illinois (800)

IL-1-A

Alton National Cemetery Rostrum

4.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana (829)

LA-5-B

Baton Rouge National Cemetery Rostrum

5.

Beverly, New Jersey (804)

NJ-2-B

Beverly National Cemetery Rostrum

6.

Camp Butler, Illinois (806)

IL-7-C

Camp Butler National Cemetery Rostrum

7.

Camp Chase Confederate, Ohio (075)

OH-2-A

Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery Rostrum

8.

Cave Hill, Kentucky (834)

KY-8-B

Cave Hill National Cemetery Rostrum

9.

Cypress Hills, New York (808)

NY-2-E

Cypress Hills National Cemetery Rostrum

10.

Florence, South Carolina (843)

SC-2-B

Florence National Cemetery Rostrum

11.

Fort Bliss, Texas (886)

TX-2-B

Fort Bliss National Cemetery Rostrum

12.

Fort Gibson, Oklahoma (844)

OK-3-B

Fort Gibson National Cemetery Rostrum

13.

Fort Rosecrans, California (892)

CA-7-B

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery Rostrum

14.

Fort Sam Houston, Texas (846)

TX-3-B

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery Rostrum

15.

Fort Scott, Kansas (893)

KS-3-A

Fort Scott National Cemetery Rostrum

16.

Jefferson City, Missouri (853)

MO-3-B

Jefferson City National Cemetery Rostrum

17.

Leavenworth, Kansas (897)

KS-2-A

Leavenworth National Cemetery Rostrum

18.

Lebanon, Kentucky (856)

KY-3-B

Lebanon National Cemetery Rostrum

19.

Little Rock, Arkansas (858)

AR-2-C

Little Rock National Cemetery Rostrum

20.

Los Angeles, California (898)

HABS No.
CA-2709-C

Los Angeles National Cemetery Rostrum

21.

Marietta, Georgia (859)

GA-1-B

Marietta National Cemetery Rostrum

22.

Mobile, Alabama (862)

AL-1-B

Mobile National Cemetery Rostrum

23.

Mound City, Illinois (863)

IL-9-B

Mound City National Cemetery Rostrum

24.

Nashville, Tennessee (865)

TN-5-B

Nashville National Cemetery Rostrum

25.

Natchez, Mississippi (866)

MS-2-B

Natchez National Cemetery Rostrum

26.

New Albany, Indiana (867)

IN-4-B

New Albany National Cemetery Rostrum

27.

New Bern, North Carolina (868)

NC-1-B

New Bern National Cemetery_Rostrum

28.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (819)

PA-2-C

Philadelphia National Cemetery Rostrum

29.

Raleigh, North Carolina (873)

NC-4-B

Raleigh National Cemetery_Rostrum

30.

Richmond, Virginia (874)

VA-22-A

Richmond National Cemetery Rostrum

31.

Saint Augustine, Florida (875)

FL-3-B

Saint Augustine National Cemetery Rostrum

32.

San Antonio, Texas (877)

TX-6-B

San Antonio National Cemetery Rostrum

33.

San Francisco, California (903)

CA-1-B

San Francisco National Cemetery Rostrum

34.

Santa Fe, New Mexico (904)

NM-4-B

Santa Fe National Cemetery Rostrum

35.

Springfield, Missouri (879)

MO-4-C

Springfield National Cemetery Rostrum

36.

Wilmington, North Carolina (881)

NC-5-B

Wilmington National Cemetery Rostrum

37.

Zachary Taylor, Kentucky (883)

KY-6-B

Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Rostrum