Monday, October 25, 2010

Tourist in My Own Town: Hollywood Cemetery

I don't always take advantage off all the interesting things to see and do here in the Richmond area, but when my folks come for a visit I get to play a tourist in my own town.  Last week while they were visiting we decided to check out Hollywood Cemetery.  It's also almost Halloween.  Why not take a walk among the dead!

Hollywood has been used as a burial place as well as a beautiful escape from the city since 1849.  Two US presidents (as well as the president of the confederacy) are buried there.  From this Oregon Hill site you have an incredible view of the James River below.  It was a beautiful day and we decided to walk through the park (you can opt to drive).  One of the first things we saw as we entered the cemetery was this view.

Notice the visitor in the center of the frame?  It's a juvenile bald eagle!  It was HUGE and chasing a squirrel. 

and then stalked a groundhog.  It was Wild Kingdom for a bit.

There are family plots as well as family mausoleums all over the park.  We saw these two almost next to each other.

These were great architectural homages to my own Richardson clan as well as my Cole cousins.  It was nice to see them as neighbors. 

There were all kinds of interesting monuments and headstones in the park.  It was interesting to see what was in vogue at different times.  One style in particular that caught my eye were the nature inspired ones.  They tended to look like tree trunks with other natural embellishments.  They seemed to be very popular in the 1910s-1920s.  This one below from 1912 says "in perfect peace".

It was very peaceful.  Well, except for the renovations in the presidental area.  We didn't get to see James Monroe or John Tyler.  Poor James Monroe...He was actually moved here after the cemetery opened to give the place some cache and spur tourists to visit.  He's been helping to draw a crowd for over 150 years now. 

It really was peaceful.

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