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Michael James RVA: Hollywood Cemetery – Three Presidents and a Pyramid

Take a closer look at Hollywood Cemetery.

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Michael Joseph Ajemian is songwriter and storyteller who along with Paul Hammond are working to tell the story of Richmond on their website Michael James RVA. They offered to share one of their bits of history and we’re thrilled to take them up on their offer.

Hollywood Cemetery – Three Presidents and a Pyramid

Photo: Michael James RVA

Hollywood Cemetery is a 130 acre cemetery on or next to “Oregon Hill“, overlooking the James River. Crowded with tombstones, memorials, mausoleums and obelisks, it can be easily identified looking west from the Lee bridge (Rte 1) on the north side of the river.

Originally a part of the Belvidere estate of William Byrd III, son of Richmond’s founder William Byrd II. Bushrod Washingtonwho purchased it in 1795 and sold it prior to his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1798, would have been located in today’s Oregon Hill, an old blue collar working class neighborhood, now mostly student housing. The estate was sold to Jacquelin Harvie prior to the 1819 financial panic, who had earlier unsuccessfully sought to create the town of Sydney, now part of today’s Fan District. Thirty years later, the cemetery was laid out on the western edge of Belvidere, called Harvie’s Woods. The cemetery was originally established in 1849 by William H. Haxall and Joshua Fry, who were inspired by the “rural garden style” of the Mount Auburn Cemetery they had visited in Boston and laid out by architect John Notman, who had designed Philadelphia’s “Laurel Hill” cemetery.

Two U.S. Presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler are buried in President’s Circle, pictured above, along with scores of other prominent Virginians and approximately 1,800 Confederate soldiers. Jefferson Davis is buried in another section of the cemetery along with some other Confederate luminaries.

Photo: Michael James RVA

After the battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863, the remains of Union soldiers were carefully exhumed from the battlefield and ceremoniously re-interred at the new Gettysburg National Cemetery where Lincoln gave his now famous address calling the nation to finish the work their sacrifice made possible.

“that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.

Read the rest of the story at Michael James RVA.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Downtown

Businesses Unite to Bring Change to Monument Avenue

“We believe inclusion is integral to the strength of our organizations, and that symbols antithetical to equality, equity, and unity harm our employees and community.”

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The Monument Commitment is a pledge by Richmond employers to work for change not only along Monument Avenue but in the community.

RVAHub is proud to stand with the businesses below.

If you would like to learn how to add your organization to this commitment email: [email protected]

The pledge reads:

Governor Northam, Mayor Stoney, City Council Members:

We are employers of the Richmond community.

We believe inclusion is integral to the strength of our organizations, and that symbols antithetical to equality, equity, and unity harm our employees and community.

We ask that you commit to support the respectful removal of all the confederate monuments on Monument Avenue in coming months, and do not repair – other than for public safety – the monuments as they currently stand.

For our part, we commit to confronting racism in our organizations and supporting you in eradicating systemic racism in our community.

It is time to take them all down.

Sincerely,

Please note we created this post on Friday morning and since businesses are being added constantly some businesses might not be on the list above. This is not a statement against those businesses just an inability to keep up. This link will give you the most current list of those that have made the commitment.

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Downtown

Wayback RVA — Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics Savings Bank

A Then & Now photo essay of Richmond places from around the area.

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Wayback RVA

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The Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics
Savings Bank, Mr. Jno. Mitchell Jr., Pres.

John Mitchell Jr. was aptly described as “a man who would walk into the jaws of death to serve his race.” Mitchell – newspaper editor, entrepreneur, city councilman and candidate for governor – was one of the most respected black leaders of his day. [RTD]

A fascinating individual. The Shockoe Examiner has an interesting post from 2012 about Mitchell’s grave in Evergreen Cemetery. Alas for the old bank building, it’s former location now rests under the Richmond Convention Center.


(Old Pythian Hall and Mechanics Savings Bank is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


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Community

Black Bear’s Visit to Richmond Comes to a Safe End

No picnic baskets, bears, dogs, cats, or humans were harmed in today’s adventure.

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A black bear decided to explore Richmond today. First spotted on the Northbank Trail he later headed into town. Previous reports earlier in the week had the bear up near Pony Pasture. The picture above is from RACC Instagram which reported on the sedation and transportation of the bear.

We just received a call about a bear-and it really was a bear. Sometimes we laugh and arrive on scene with a giant Rottweiler, but nope-this was a real bear. We named him Fuzzy Wuzzy. Shout out to @richmondpolice for helping keep us safe and to @virginiawildlife for tranquilizing and relocating the bear out of the City!

Bear on Northbank this morning! from r/rva

Here he is in town.

Bear at Byrd and 5th from r/rva

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