Monuments and Symbols of Hollywood Cemetery

Program Information

Program: Hollywood: Richmond's Garden Cemetery
Segment Number: 10 (Watch entire program)
Duration: 00:04:12
Year Produced: 2004
Description:

The people buried in Hollywood employed artisans to build iron or stone reminders that cleverly tell small stories about the dead and sometimes about the grieving. In its own way, each monument also contributes toward an overall effect on the landscape.

Richmond boasts a cemetery, named Hollywood because of the natural proliferation of holly trees on the grounds, whose history, beauty and tranquility have made it a local treasure. Hollywood Cemetery lives out its original intention for the living and the dead. It is a mature green space with a commanding view of the James River that serves the public as a natural retreat within the confines of the city. It is the final resting place for two U.S. presidents, the only confederate president, several confederate generals, a Supreme Court justice, writers and local celebrities - as well as many people who are not famous at all. In addition to its legendary status in Richmond and beyond, Hollywood remains a working cemetery.

For more information visit: http://ideastations.org/hollywood

Transcript

NARRATOR:

The people buried in Hollywood each have provided insight to who they were and what they did in life. They employed artisans to build iron or stone reminders that cleverly tell small stories about the dead and sometimes about the grieving. In its own way, each monument also contributes toward an overall effect on the landscape.

Betty Allen:

“A walk through Hollywood is really a walk through a nature center. It is a walk through an art museum. You’ll find many, many very sentimental things here. But see these markers are put up at a time of great Romanticism.”

“And some of the Tomb markers will have and open bible. You will find many different types of crosses.”

“You will also find many of the natural things like the roses, and that would be love, innocence.”

“You’ll find hands that are still clasped on the markers. You are gone but we will be together once again. We’re still joined together.”

“You’ll also find torches. If the torch is turned down that means the flame, the life was extinguished. And a wreath is a circle. There is no beginning and there is no end, and that’s life, it’s a circle. Usually the wreath will have perennial flowers in it. Perennial flowers die in the fall but they come back in the spring.”

“You’ll see a lot of obelisks in the cemetery, and the obelisk is reaching to the sun. An obelisk also means that the person has reached great heights, but then sometimes you’ll find an obelisk that’s short. That’s probably at the grave of a child that wasn’t given the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

“As you walk through you’ll see symbols that tell you something about the person, maybe their profession. Charters was the fire captain, because you see his hat, all of the symbols of the fireman, the hoses.”

“But you’ll also see maybe organizations that they were a part of, especially the Masonic symbol: you’ll see the compass.”

(The Newfoundland:)

Betty Allen:

“One that always fascinates people is the dog. The dog stood outside a store in Petersburg for many years and there was a little boy named Charlie who loved the dog. Probably Charlie would walk with his mother and he always wanted to pet the dog and I can envision that he probably wanted to get on and ride the dog, because it’s a Newfoundland: it’s a big dog!”

“Charlie loved the dog so much, his father bought the dog for him. And then Charlie’s little sister died. Her name was Bernadine Reese. And the dog was moved out here to the cemetery where little Bernadine is buried. And it’s been standing guard for a long time now.”

“At the time of the civil war the South needed iron. So, if you had a church bell, if you had a cast iron gate, then that was given to be melted down for armaments. But when they moved the dog to Hollywood Cemetery, the dog was saved.”