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Hollywood Cemetery, A Place for the Living August 1, 2009

Posted by miguelsouza in Travel.
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Hollywood Cemetery, located at 412 S.  Cherry St., is not just a resting place for some of Virginia’s most notable figures; it has also become one of Richmond’s most popular tourist spots. (versión en español)

By Miguel Souza and Randy Davis


Jenifer Darcy, 30, guides her friend Dr. Lauren Sawchyn carefully through the cemetery quietly describing the history of the place. She explains that she enjoys bringing her friends to the cemetery.

“Typically, we go to the pyramid that’s over there and then I usually bring people around to the presidents’ circle,” she said.

Dr. Lauren Sawchyn looked ecstatic as she stood gazing out over Richmond’s skyline.

“I like looking out over the James River and seeing all the beautiful sculptures over the grounds,” she said.

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Hollywood cemetery has different meanings for the people. Listen to the podcast to know how history, recreation and ghosts are part of this tourist spot.

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A Long History

Hollywood cemetery’s first burial took place in 1849. However, it was not until 1858 when President James Monroe’s remains were reinterred at the cemetery, that it became a popular tourist spot.

There are many reasons that tourists come to visit the cemetery.

Emily King, 73, stated that she brought Grant Mosley and his son Kurt to the cemetery because they were interested in civil war history and were looking for ancestors.

Grant Mosley, 56, said that he and his son basically came as tourists.

“We came to sight-see and visit some special graves and to see the confederate cemetery,” he said.
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Take a visual tour to Hollywood cemetery and its history. Presidents, artists and many famous people are among its occupants.

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Famous People in a Famous Place

The Hollywood Cemetery is the final resting place of 18,000 confederate enlisted men as well as two presidents: James Monroe and John Tyler, in addition to Jefferson Davis who was president of the confederacy.

The remains of six Virginia governors have also found their final resting place in the cemetery.

Other notables include: General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart who is a famous Confederate Calvary commander, Major Lewis Ginter who made his fortune in the tobacco industry and was the builder of The Jefferson Hotel, and Mary Branch Munford who established Virginia’s public school system.

The cemetery consist of 135 acres and would be nearly impossible to cover on foot. David Hodnett, 27, who said he was interested in the cemetery for its historical value and that he wanted to learn about Virginia. He and four friends were touring the cemetery on their bicycles.

“Our intentions were to ride through here and take it in for a few hours… its such a big area it’s hard to cover everything on foot. It’s much more convenient and leisurely I guess on the bicycle,” he said.

In the end, Hollywood cemetery appears to an exciting place for the living as well as resting place for the dead.

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