Many American cities have historic cemeteries that are popular with visitors. Richmond is no exception. The Hollywood Cemetery, located at 412 South Cherry Street, was designed in 1847 by John Notman of Philadelphia.
It was designed to be a "garden cemetery''. Notman wanted to get away from the grid-like design of other cemeteries and create a space that was more reminiscent of a park. Situated on the James River, the cemetery provides a beautiful view of the water from many spots.
While the first plot in Hollywood Cemetery was not sold until 1849, many of those buried there were born in the early 1700's. These were originally buried in another location and then moved to the cemetery when urban expansion made such a move necessary.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by the visitor center where they can find helpful brochures and maps of the cemetery. Because there are thousands of people buried in Hollywood Cemetery, it can be difficult to find the graves of the many notable and historic figures who are buried there.
Among the important people interred there are two American presidents, John Monroe, the fifth president and John Tyler, the tenth. Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, is also buried there as is his son and daughter.
There are also 25 confederate generals buried on the grounds. That is more than any other cemetery. Along with the confederate generals, there are 18,000 enlisted confederate soldiers buried nearby. The sacrifice of these men is commemorated with a 90-foot tall granite pyramid which was completed in 1869 to honor these men.
While some might think a visit to a cemetery is morbid, many find it a rich experience full of historic meaning. One visitor said there was "history at every turn.'' Another noted that the beauty of the grounds was as impressive as the history contained within the cemetery.
Along with the graves of presidents and confederate soldiers are the graves that mark other events, some tragic, in history. There are graves of those who fought in World War and many graves of those who died during the flu epidemic in 1918.
It was November of that year when 800 men, women and children died in Richmond during the epidemic. Among the graves is one for Jack Williams, a 15 year old boy who tended to the sick and refused to go home, even though he was exhausted. He continued to care for his friends until he, too, came down with the flu that took his life.
Among other notables is William Burke. Burke was an Irish school teacher who had among his teenage students one Edgar Allen Poe, who would go on to be one of the most widely read writers in American history.
Hollywood Cemetery is the final resting place of many notables where visitors can ponder history while strolling through the beautiful grounds.