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I’ve been hearing about Hollywood Cemetery from local acquaintances but somehow or other we have never made our way to this little gem in Richmond. With D.Brooks at home and a federal holiday calling us to honor our presidents I thought it fitting to head there today. Two of our presidents are buried there: James Monroe and John Tyler. This year, along with our regular history curriculum, we’ve focused on a study devoted entirely to our presidents. I thought this particular outing fitting for both those reasons. And, the history geeks in the house were thrilled as well.

For those in the local area, a visit is a must. The history of the cemetery is rich and diverse with some incredible personalities laid to rest here. Of course, for those who are ardent students of the Civil War this place will not disappoint. Jefferson Davis is buried at Hollywood. There is a whole section devoted to soldiers who served on the Confederate side, with 18,000 soldiers laid to rest there. One of the neatest things we saw was this:

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This 90 foot pyramid was constructed just four years after the Civil War ended. While the former states of the Confederacy were mired in financial burdens due to Reconstruction the citizens of Richmond raised the funds necessary to build this thing. Note the lack of any mortar between the stones. If that wasn’t interesting enough, when it came time to place the capstone atop this behemoth the only one willing to do the job (and risk his life) was a prisoner who was granted his freedom after successfully completing the job.

Don’t you just love history?

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There’s tons more to see at Hollywood. Check out the website for the cemetery here: http://www.hollywoodcemetery.org/

If I were you I would also print out the Girl Scout’s guide on the website as they contain some pretty neat info on not just the cemetery but those buried here. For those not so interested in the personal histories of those buried here the scenery is beautiful and you could also make it a point to find the various symbols found on tombstones throughout. For example, lilies found on many gravestones throughout signify purity or symbolize resurrection and urns that are draped signify death.

The winding paths and scenery also make this the perfect place to take a walk or jog during milder weather. We saw a jogger and several walkers while making our way around. Lastly, if you don’t want to break your noggin trying to figure out the less than stellar map provided in the Girl Scout’s guide just follow the blue painted line on the path. Trust me. I wish we’d figured that out earlier!

It’s hard to be that close to Carey Street and not stop in for a bite and a little shopping. B is always content with checking out the toy store or the video game shop. And Big Brooks had his eyes on acquiring a few new records. And this Little Lady was happy to tag along, always.

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