Volunteers look to restore two historic Virginia cemeteries

Work begins at Shockoe Hill and Hollywood cemeteries

Volunteers have banned together to help restore two historic Richmond, Virginia cemeteries that are sorely marked with the ravages of time.

Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Jackson Ward and Hollywood Cemetery near Oregon Hill are both on the National Register of Historic Places and are the burial grounds for several U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, and other leaders and literary figures of note.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Friends of Hollywood Cemetery and the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery have been created to raise awareness and money to help restore the two cemeteries.

The Friends of Hollywood Cemetery says the first phase of its fund raising effort of $1.5 million to $2 million will be used to repair Presidents Circle where Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler are buried. Other notables elsewhere in the cemetery include Confederate President Jefferson Davis, six Virginia governors, 22 Confederate generals, two Supreme Court justices, Confederate soldiers, business leaders and literary figures. Restoration work has begun.

Established in 1847, Hollywood was one of the nation’s first cemeteries designed in the "rural style," on 135 acres overlooking the James River. It was hit in 2003 by Hurricane Isabel. Some headstones suffered from botched repairs, and ornamental ironwork surrounding Presidents Circle has been wrecked by tourist buses.

Also according to the Times-Dispatch a full restoration of the cemetery and its monuments could cost $7 million according to a 2007 estimate.

Shockoe Hill Cemetery is Richmond’s first municipally owned cemetery not associated with a church and is where Chief Justice John Marshall is buried. It opened in 1822 on 12.7 acres in North Richmond.

The Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery was organized when the John Marshall Foundation celebrated Marshall’s 250th birthday at his gravesite and recognized the need for upkeep at the cemetery. The organization now helps the city with maintenance work.

One section of Shockoe Hill is a site of single graves for Confederate soldiers, paupers and stillborn babies.

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