Efforts to restore the historic Mount Zion Cemetery are underway. (Brian Kapur/Current file photo)

The Georgetown community will participate in a work day to clean up the historic Mount Zion Cemetery this Saturday, kicking off the first major improvement project on the site since the last burial there in the 1950s.

Residents and neighborhood leaders have been talking for years with the cemetery’s board of directors about making improvements to the cemetery at the intersection of 27th and Q streets NW, which served in the 19th century as an Underground Railroad refuge for runaway slaves. Local architect Outerbridge Horsey has drawn up a plan for organizing the tombstones and restoring the cemetery as a vital piece of the neighborhood’s history, according to Joe Gibbons, chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E (Georgetown, Burleith).

“We’re going to let the community know this is not a cut-through anymore to Rock Creek,” Gibbons said.

Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School’s Father and Daughter Committee will lead a teaching demonstration for its students during the event, which will begin with a blessing at 9 a.m. and wrap up around 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided at 11:30 a.m. by Jaco Juice & Taco Bar. Further cleanup efforts will follow in the coming months, Gibbons said.