Hollywood Cemetery (Richmond, Virginia)

Hollywood Cemetery is a large, sprawling cemetery located next to Richmond, Virginia's Oregon Hill neighborhood at 412 South Cherry Street. Characterized by rolling hills and winding paths overlooking the James River, it is the resting place of two United States Presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler, as well as the only Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis. It is also the resting place of 28 Confederate generals, more than any other cemetery in the country; these include George Pickett and J.E.B. Stuart.[3]

Hollywood Cemetery
Hollywood Cemetery 01.jpg
CountryUnited States
Find a GraveHollywood Cemetery
Hollywood Cemetery
Location412 S. Cherry St., Richmond, Virginia
Coordinates37°32′09″N 77°27′25″W / 37.53583°N 77.45694°W / 37.53583; -77.45694Coordinates: 37°32′09″N 77°27′25″W / 37.53583°N 77.45694°W / 37.53583; -77.45694
Area130 acres (526,000 m2)
ArchitectPratt, William H.
NRHP reference No.69000350[1]
VLR No.127-0221
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 12, 1969
Designated VLRSeptember 9, 1969[2]


The land that Hollywood Cemetery currently stands on was once part of William Byrd III's estate. Later, it was owned by the Harvie family and was known as "Harvie's Woods."[3] William H. Haxall was one of the original founders of Hollywood Cemetery. In the spring of 1847, two citizens of Richmond, Joshua J. Fry and William H. Haxall, while on a visit to Boston, visited Mount Auburn Cemetery, a beautiful cemetery near that city. They were impressed by the solemn grandeur of the place and resolved that they would, on their return to Richmond, propose the establishment of a rural cemetery near the city. It was through their original efforts and the subsequent cooperation of local citizens that Hollywood Cemetery was created. On June 3, 1847, Haxall, Fry, William Mitchell Jr., and Isaac Davenport Sr. purchased from Lewis E. Harvie, who sold under a deed of trust from Jacqueline B. Harvie for the sum of $4,075, a certain portion of the lots or parcels of land in the town of Sydney, in the County of Henrico, together with "the privileges and appurtenances to the belonging, which said portion is adjoining to Clarkes Spring and contains by survey forty-two acres, three roods, but of which one rood, known as Harvie's rood, or graveyard, with free ingress and egress to the said graveyard is reserved." This purchase was made with the design of establishing a rural cemetery.[4] Hollywood Cemetery was designed as a garden cemetery, or park cemetery, which was the trend at the time borrowed from the French in an effort to provide more green space in urban areas.

The Monument of Confederate War Dead at Hollywood Cemetery

In the late 1840s, William Haxall, William Mitchell Jr. and Joshua Fry hired John Notman (architect of Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia) to design the cemetery in the rural garden style. Its name, "Hollywood," came from the holly trees dotting the hills of the property.[3] Oliver P. Baldwin[5] delivered the dedication address in 1849.[6]

James Monroe was reinterred from New York City to the "President's Circle" section of Hollywood cemetery on July 4, 1858, due to the efforts of Governor Henry A. Wise.[3]

In 1869, a 90-foot (27 m) high granite pyramid designed by Charles H. Dimmock was built as a memorial to the more than 18,000 enlisted men of the Confederate Army buried in the cemetery. It was a project supported by the Hollywood Ladies Memorial Association, a group of Southern women dedicated to honoring and caring for the burial sites of fallen Confederate soldiers.

The placing of the capstone at the top of the pyramid has been a source of legend for Richmonders. The legend states that, as it was nearing completion, no one could determine how to place the capstone atop the lofty 90-foot pyramid. Thomas Stanley, a criminal in the work gang building the pyramid, proposed and executed the solution, which involved a dangerous climb to the top. In retellings, locals say Stanley was freed due to his heroic contribution. The only evidence of this is a note reading "transferred" added to the release box of Stanley's prison schedule. This note could be interpreted as an attempt to obscure the extrajudicial granting of his freedom or that he was simply moved to a different prison or project.

The pyramid became a symbol of the Hollywood Memorial Association, appearing on its stationery as well as on the front of a pamphlet of buried soldiers, the Register of the Confederate Dead.[7]

In 1890, a chapel was constructed next to the entrance of the cemetery. This chapel now serves as the cemetery office. In 1915, the original entrance was closed and the present one was opened to better facilitate cars.[3]

Interior of Palmer Chapel Mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetery

The Palmer Chapel Mausoleum was built 1992, adding 730 crypts for caskets and 160 cremation niches.[8]

Hollywood Cemetery is one of Richmond's major tourist attractions. There are many local legends surrounding certain tombs and grave sites in the cemetery, including one about a little girl and the black iron statue of a dog standing watch over her grave.[9] Other notable legends rely on ghosts haunting the many mausoleums. One of the most well-known of these is the legend of the Richmond Vampire.

A place rich in history, legend, and gothic landscape, Hollywood Cemetery is also frequented by many of the local students attending Virginia Commonwealth University.[citation needed]

Confederate Memorial DayEdit

In the 1870s, the South was crumbling, and southerners yearned to preserve their culture and heritage. One preservation effort was Confederate Memorial Day, a series of celebrations that “became imbued with cultural and religious symbolism that underscored the gravity of what it meant to be a southerner.”[10] Though some of these celebrations were ornate with speeches, poems, and prayers, the ones at Hollywood Cemetery were simple, and ultimately set the trend for future celebrations: a modest procession to the cemetery and decoration of the graves. Young men would also recreate Thomas Stanley's heroic act and climb the monument to hang a wreath from the top. Though simple, it is estimated that around 20,000 people attended the first Confederate Memorial Day at Hollywood Cemetery in 1866.

List of notable interments and their familiesEdit

(Note: This is a partial list.)

Use the following alphabetical links to find names.





Jefferson Davis grave at the Hollywood Cemetery



  • Douglas Southall Freeman (1886–1953), journalist and historian; author of definitive biographies of George Washington and Confederate General Robert E. Lee; namesake of a local high school[11]


Lewis Ginter's grave at Hollywood Cemetery
The Harvie family plot


  • James Dandridge Halyburton (1803–1879), U.S. and Confederate judge, Eastern District of Virginia (1843–65)
  • David Bullock Harris (1814–1864), Confederate Colonel
  • John Harvie (1742–1807), lawyer and builder, delegate to the Continental Congress, Signer of The Articles of Confederation
  • William Wirt Henry (1831–1900), lawyer, member of the General Assembly of Va., president of the Am. Historical Association (1890–91)
  • Henry Heth (1825–1899), U.S. Army officer and Confederate general, participated at the Battle of Gettysburg
  • Ambrose Powell Hill, Jr. (1825–1865), Confederate General
  • Eppa Hunton (1822–1908), U.S. Representative and Senator, Confederate brigadier general
  • Eppa Hunton Jr. (1855–1932), lawyer, member of the House of Delegates, president of the Virginia Bar Association
  • Eppa Hunton IV (1904–1976), lawyer, rector of Virginia Commonwealth University


  • John D. Imboden (1823–1895), lawyer, teacher, Virginia legislator, Confederate cavalry general and partisan fighter


  • Edward Johnson (1816–1873), U.S. Army officer and Confederate general, American Civil War
  • Mary Johnston (1870–1936), novelist and women's rights advocate
  • David Rumph Jones (1825–1863), U.S Army officer and Confederate General, American Civil War
  • Samuel Jones (1819–1887), U.S. Army, Confederate General, American Civil War



  • John Lamb (1840–1924), U.S. Congressman (1897–1913)
  • Fitzhugh Lee (1835–1905), Confederate cavalry general, Governor of Virginia, diplomat, U.S. Army general in Spanish–American War and the nephew of General Robert E. Lee
  • Thomas M. Logan (1840–1914), Confederate General
  • James Lyons (1801–1882), politician, Confederate Congressman


James Monroe's grave at Hollywood Cemetery after its September 2016 renovation



George Pickett's grave


  • John Randolph (1773–1833), politician, leader in Congress from Virginia
  • William Francis Rhea (1858–1931), Virginia lawyer, judge, and U.S. Congressman
  • Dr. William Rickman (1731–1783), director of hospitals for the Continental Army of Virginia; devoted husband to the daughter of Signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Harrison, Miss Elizabeth Harrison
  • Conway Robinson (1805–1884), lawyer and legal scholar



John Tyler's grave at Hollywood Cemetery




See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e National Park Service. "Hollywood Cemetery and James Monroe Tomb". Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  4. ^ https://www.hollywoodcemetery.org/william-h-haxall; Source of information: Library of Virginia Digital Collection; LVA Titled Files: Survey Report, Hollywood Cemetery: March 23, 1937; research by Malcolm T. Earley.
  5. ^ "Re: Oliver Perry Baldwin, Publ". www.genealogy.com.
  6. ^ Alfred L. Brophy, "The Road to the Gettysburg Address," Florida State University Law Review 43 (2016):831-905.
  7. ^ Hollywood Cemetery (2015-04-29), Confederate Memorial Pyramid (Hollywood Cemetery), archived from the original on 2021-12-22, retrieved 2018-10-15
  8. ^ "Our History-Hollywood Cemetery". https://hollywoodgossipgalaxy.fun. Retrieved March 15, 2023. {{cite web}}: External link in |website= (help)
  9. ^ "165watchdog". www.civilwarfieldtrips.com.
  10. ^ Kinney, Martha (1998). "If Vanquished I Am Still Victorious: Religious and Cultural Symbolism in Virginia's Confederate Memorial Day Celebrations, 1866–1930". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 106: 237–266.
  11. ^ Freeman High School
  12. ^ [1] CWGC casualty record.
  13. ^ "Henry G. Shirley Dies Unexpectedly". The Bristol Herald Courier. 1941-07-17. p. 1. Retrieved 2022-10-04 – via Newspapers.com. 

Further readingEdit

  • Kollatz, Harry (2007). True Richmond stories: historic tales from Virginia's capital. Charleston, SC: History Press. ISBN 978-1-59629-268-0.
  • Mitchell, Mary H (1985). Hollywood Cemetery: the history of a southern shrine. Richmond: Virginia State Library. ISBN 978-0-88490-109-9.
  • Peters, John O (2010). Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery. Richmond, Va.: Valentine Richmond History Center. ISBN 978-0-615-39192-2.

External linksEdit