• 1847

    Richmonders William Haxall and Joshua Fry, inspired by a recent visit to Mount Auburn cemetery near Boston, decided to open a similar cemetery on the outskirts of Richmond. Together with 40 prominent Richmond subscribers, they started a company that would later be known as the Hollywood Cemetery Company. Notable architect John Notman of Philadelphia was enlisted to design the cemetery. He suggested the name “Hollywood” due to the large amount of holly trees that dotted its hills.

  • 1848

    An enclosure fence was built around the property, as well as an extensive system of gutters, drainage ditches, culverts and bridges. The company also constructed several lakes on the property, although these have since been filled in. Several roadways and paths were put in place, all of which are still visible in the original 40 acres of the cemetery.

  • 1849

    Hollywood Cemetery sold its first grave site.


  • 1851

    The first monument, as distinguished from a headstone, was placed in Hollywood Cemetery.

  • 1856

    The General Assembly passed an act incorporating the Hollywood Cemetery Company.

  • 1858

    1858The Commonwealth of Virginia reinterred the remains of President James Monroe to Hollywood Cemetery and erected the monumental James Monroe Tomb.


  • 1862

    1862President John Tyler was buried in President’s Circle, in front of the gravesite of former President James Monroe.

  • 1863

    1863Hollywood became one of the largest cemeteries in Richmond for military interments during the Civil War. One particular area of the cemetery became known as the Confederate Section due to the immense amount of Confederate soldiers that were buried there.

  • 1864

    Hollywood raised the price of adult burials from $4 to $20 and the price of child burials from $2 to $10.

  • 1865

    All of Hollywood’s records, kept at the treasurer’s office in Richmond, were burned as fleeing Confederates set fire to the city.

  • 1866

    The Hollywood Ladies Memorial Association was founded to care for the graves of Confederate soldiers. The association reinterred an estimated 3,000 bodies from the Gettysburg battlefield to Hollywood Cemetery.

  • 1869

    1869The Pyramid, a monument dedicated to the Confederate soldiers buried at Hollywood, was erected due largely to the efforts of the Hollywood Ladies Memorial Association.


  • 1872-1873

    Confederate dead from the battle of Gettysburg were reinterred in Hollywood Cemetery in six shipments, arriving by steamship. The bodies were buried on a small rise in the Soldiers’ Section, now known as Gettysburg Hill.

  • 1877

    1877A new gatehouse, designed to look like the ruins of a stone tower was completed at a cost of $2,256.


  • 1892

    A Junior Hollywood Memorial Association was established, open to both boys and girls.

  • 1893

    Confederate President Jefferson Davis was reinterred in Hollywood Cemetery.

  • 1899

    1899A life-size bronze statue of Jefferson Davis, created by George Julian Zolnay, was unveiled in Davis Circle.


  • 1902

    The Ladies’ Hollywood Memorial Association unveiled a monument in the Soldiers’ Section for the 224 Confederate soldiers who are buried in Pittsville Cemetery, in Philadelphia.

  • 1904

    A new section on Midvale Avenue containing 148 lots was laid out on a lawn system.

  • 1909

    President William Howard Taft paid a visit to Hollywood Cemetery and was initially refused entrance because of his car (automobiles were not allowed in the cemetery). He was eventually allowed to enter.


  • 1911

    The cemetery company was surprised to learn that Hollywood had never been officially authorized by the city to serve as a burying ground. That bureaucratic oversight was quickly remedied.

  • 1915

    1915A large granite monument, designed by The T.F. McGann & Sons Company of Boston, was placed over the grave of President John Tyler, over 50 years after his death.

  • 1918

    1915A new entrance to the cemetery was placed at Albemarle and Cherry streets. The main entrance to Hollywood has remained at the same location ever since.

  • 1919

    After much argument and debate, the board of directors finally voted to permit automobiles in the cemetery.

  • 1919

    Hollywood began offering tours through the cemetery in a Ford car that could carry 4-5 people at a time. Each tour cost $0.35.


  • 1923

    Hollywood acquired additional land, known as Clark Springs, to develop for burial lots.

  • 1924

    The lake near Midvale Avenue was drained and converted to land to use as burial lots.

  • 1929

    A granite and iron entrance gate, built by C.W. Toombs & Co. was placed at the Cherry and Albemarle Streets entrance.


  • 1948

    The cemetery purchased its first power mowing equipment.


  • 1953

    The Richmond Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy prepared a list of distinguished people buried at the cemetery. The names were presented on a bronze plaque that was affixed to the side of the cemetery offices.

  • 1954

    Hollywood discontinued Sunday funerals.


  • 1968

    1968President Lyndon B. Johnson initiated the custom of honoring President James Monroe with a special ceremony at his tomb on his birthday. The practice was extended later to President John Tyler, and it continues today.

  • 1969

    Hollywood Cemetery was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.


  • 1971

    The chapel at Hollywood’s entrance was converted to office space.


  • 1983

    Emily Higgins was unanimously elected to the board as the first woman to ever serve as a Hollywood director.


  • 1991

    Glade Garden, the area at the foot of the hill leading to the cemetery from the entrance, was completed.

  • 1992

    1992The Palmer Chapel Mausoleum was built, adding 730 crypts for caskets and 160 cremation niches to the cemetery.

  • 1993

    Hollywood was presented with three preservation awards from the Historic Richmond Foundation for its long-term commitment to maintaining the cemetery.

  • 1997

    A scene from the movie The Jackal, starring Richard Gere and Sidney Poitier, was filmed in Hollywood Cemetery. Several other scenes for movies and TV shows would be filmed in the cemetery throughout the years.

  • 1999

    1999Between forty and fifty roses of historic interest were identified in Hollywood. More than thirty notable trees within the cemetery were cataloged as well.


  • 2000

    Hollywood opened the Idlewood Section of the cemetery.

  • 2003

    Hurricane Isabel caused so much damage that every road in the cemetery was blocked by uprooted trees or fallen monuments and tombstones. It cost more than a million dollars to clean up the damage.

  • 2004

    Tropical Storm Gaston caused the stone retaining wall along Cherry Street to fall into the cemetery

  • 2006

    A cremation wall, the first at Hollywood, was completed in the Idlewood Section.

  • 2006

    A monument to the Jewish soldiers who served in the Confederacy was dedicated in the Soldiers’ Section.


  • 2011

    2011Presidents Circle was renovated to include 900 niches in a new granite walk leading up to and surrounding the Circle and provides the potential for 1,800 more interments that were not available previously. Several monuments, fences, and curbing in the area were restored as well.

  • 2015

    The cast-iron canopy over James Monroe's tomb, known as The Birdcage, was repaired and restored to its original lighter color.

  • 2016

    The first overlook of the James River was constructed near the Palmer Chapel thanks to generous funding from the James River Garden Club and Dominion Foundation.