This cemetery reflects the city’s history, with ex-presidents, Confederate Generals, and Pulitzer prize winners buried here.
Hollywood Cemetery houses 300 years of history in its grounds. Thousands of historical figures, ordinary townsfolk and infamous locals are buried here, from presidents to Pulitzer prize winners. The sprawling cemetery is set across 130 acres (53 hectares) on the banks of the James River, just west of downtown.
The cemetery was designed in 1847 in a “rural garden” style, meaning there is no obvious order to the plots. Take a wander through mausoleums and headstones that are spread among trees and rolling hills. The name “Hollywood” comes from the holly trees that dot the landscape. Locals use the paths that wind through the park for jogging and biking, or meandering strolls on weekends.
History buffs, particularly those with an interest in the Civil War, could spend half a day exploring the cemetery. Twenty-five Confederate generals and 18,000 soldiers are buried here. A 90-foot (27-meter) granite pyramid is a monument to lives lost during the war.
Free historical walking tours run every day except Sunday, April through October. Groups leave once a day at 10 a.m. from the main entrance on Cherry Street. Phone in advance to make a reservation. Learn about some of the people that are buried here, including two U.S. presidents, John Tyler and James Monroe.
Take a self-guided tour, and pick up a map and brochure from the Visitor’s Center at the main entrance. The map marks out significant headstones, while the brochure details some of the history. Around 800 locals were buried here after the influenza epidemic in 1918. Visit the stained-glass-decorated mausoleum of Lewis Gunter, who invented a machine for rolling shredded tobacco in paper and amassed a huge fortune.
The cemetery is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or until 6 p.m. during daylight saving. Parking is free. The nearest bus stop is about three blocks from the main entrance.