Tag Archives: presidential grave

Cemetery of the Week #126: Hollywood Cemetery

Vintage postcard of the monument to Jefferson Davis

Vintage postcard of the monument to Jefferson Davis

Hollywood Cemetery
412 South Cherry Street
Richmond, Virginia 23330
Telephone: 804-648-8501
Email: info@hollywoodcemetery.org
Founded: 1847
Size: 130 acres
Number of interments: approximately 80,000
Open: Daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On the bluffs above the James River stands Richmond, Virginia’s Hollywood Cemetery. It was named for the holly trees that grew on the property, which belonged to Colonel Harvie, whose family plot lies under a stand of trees on the property.

Hollywood has the distinction of being one of only three graveyards where two presidents are buried. The others are Arlington National Cemetery and Quincy, Massachusetts, where the Adamses lie at rest.

Pres Monroe001When he died in 1831, America’s fifth president, James Monroe, was originally buried in New York. In the 1850s, a movement arose to bring all the Virginian presidents home. In 1858, Monroe was exhumed and accompanied home by an honor guard. The ship bearing his body ran aground in the James River and a grandson of Alexander Hamilton was drowned. The Monroe memorial was designed by Albert Lybrock. Through the mullions, you can see the marble sarcophagus covering his remains.  James E. DuPriest Jr.’s Hollywood Cemetery: a Tour said that Monroe’s ornate tomb attracts thousands of visitors to the cemetery each year.

Also buried in the President’s Circle is John Tyler, the 10th president, who took office after William Henry Harrison died from the pneumonia he caught at his own inauguration. During his presidency, Tyler opposed secession, but after the Civil War broke out, he served in the Confederate Congress. He died in Richmond in January 1862 and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery. No exhumations for him. It took until October 1915 for the United States government to forgive him enough to erect the tall square pillar, crowned with a shrouded urn, that marks his grave now. This was the first monument paid for by the US government erected to anyone who had joined the Confederacy.

Jeff Davis horiz001Elsewhere in the graveyard is buried Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy.  He was originally buried in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans, but Virginia petitioned to bring his body home.  He was reburied here on Memorial Day 1893.  He is buried near his children. Daughter Winnie, known as the Angel of the Confederacy, died of grief after her father forbade her to marry the grandson of a Northern abolitionist. Davis’s son Joseph died after falling 15 feet from the porch of the Confederate Capitol.  The boy’s grave is marked by a broken column.

Confederate graves

Confederate graves

Also in the graveyard stands a granite pyramid that marks the graves of 12,000 Confederate soldiers.  Many of them were moved from the battlefield at Gettysburg, where their bodies had been left where they’d fallen, even after all the Union bodies were gathered together and reburied in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

At first, the Confederate graves were laid out side by side, marked with wooden boards.  These were the days before dog tags, so many of the bodies could not be identified.  In 1869, the women of Richmond raised $26,000 to build a rough 90-foot-tall pyramid of undressed James River granite.  In 1910, the pyramid was covered with English ivy and Virginia creeper. Now the rock is bare and is dedicated to the 18,000 Confederate soldiers buried in Hollywood Cemetery.

Vintage postcard of the Confederate monument, postmarked 1910

Vintage postcard of the Confederate monument, postmarked 1910

Also buried in the cemetery are six Virginia governors, many of the founding fathers of Richmond, and 25 Confederate generals, more than any other cemetery in America.  Among those are J.E.B. Stuart, who died in a battle called Yellow Tavern, and George Pickett, who ordered the suicidal charge on Cemetery Hill at the battle of Gettysburg.

Finally, William Burke, who taught Edgar Allan Poe, is also buried here.

The cemetery office is open 8:30 to 4:30 during the week to sell books and maps.  They also sell the books and walking tour guides on their website.  The cemetery offers daily walking tours from April to October at 10 a.m. from Monday through Saturday.

Useful links:

Hollywood Cemetery’s homepage, which has a great slideshow

A history of Hollywood Cemetery from the National Park Service

Visitor info for Hollywood Cemetery & other Richmond attractions

A numbered map of the cemetery

Some photos of the graveyard & a list of famous burials

Wikipedia recommends two histories of the cemetery: John O. Peters’ Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery (2010) and Mary H. Mitchell’s Hollywood Cemetery (1999).  I haven’t read either, so I can’t provide any pointers. Let me know if you develop a preference.

Cemetery of the Week #89: Abraham Lincoln’s monument

Exterior of the Lincoln Tomb, postcard postmarked 1909

Exterior of the Lincoln Tomb, postcard postmarked 1909

Lincoln Tomb
Oak Ridge Cemetery
1500 Monument Avenue
Springfield, Illinois 62702
Telephone: (217) 782-2717
Founded: 1874
Size: 12.5 acres
Number of interments: 5
Open: November through February: Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
March through April: Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
May through Labor Day: Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
September, post Labor Day, through October: Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Coming up on February 12, 2013: the American Legion conducts a Lincoln’s Birthday Program from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the tomb. Other events, including a Boy Scout Sunday and Civil War re-enactors, are scheduled here.

Ford's Theater National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. The President's box is draped with flags.

Ford’s Theater National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. The President’s box is draped with flags.

When the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, not long after Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration, many refused to accept peace. Five days after the Confederacy surrendered, on Good Friday, John Wilkes Booth shot the President in the back of the head. Lincoln died the following morning without regaining consciousness.

Lincoln was the first president to die from an assassin’s bullet. The nation reeled from the shock and mourning gripped the northern states. A funeral carriage delivered Lincoln’s body to the White House, where doctors performed an autopsy and undertakers embalmed his body. He was dressed in the same black suit he had worn to his inauguration.

Lincoln lay in state in the Capitol rotunda from April 19 until the 21st. After that, his casket was escorted to the train, which would retrace the circuitous path Lincoln took when he rode to the White House in 1861. Hundreds of thousands of people saw him lying in state in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Chicago, among other cities. Millions more lined the train tracks to watch the “Lincoln Special” pass.

Lincoln’s funeral was celebrated on May 4, 1865, when he was laid to rest in the receiving vault at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Mary Lincoln would have preferred to have had Lincoln buried in the vault which had been prepared for George Washington in the Capitol Building in D.C. or perhaps in Chicago, but Springfield’s businessmen banded together to offer a suitable monument to their hometown hero. They wanted to bury Lincoln on a hill visible from the city’s train station, but Mary had visited Oak Ridge’s dedication ceremony in 1860, while Lincoln ran for his initial term as president. She remembered that her husband told her that he wanted to be buried somewhere quiet. The rural cemetery seemed like the ideal place.

At the end of 1865, Lincoln’s body was removed from the receiving vault and placed in a temporary vault near the tomb. He was moved into the unfinished tomb in 1871, which was finally dedicated in 1874. The 117-foot tomb, designed by sculptor Larkin Mead, was constructed of brick faced with granite from Quincy, Massachusetts. Two sets of stairs lead to a terrace crowned with an obelisk. At the corners of the tower stand four bronze sculptures, each representing one of the four Civil War services: infantry, artillery, cavalry, and navy. The obelisk’s south side features a bronze statue of Lincoln. A bronze reproduction of Gutzon Borglum’s marble head of Lincoln, located in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., stands at the tomb’s entrance.

Linen postcard showing the interior of Lincoln's tomb after the remodeling in the 1930s.

Linen postcard showing the interior of Lincoln’s tomb after the remodeling in the 1930s.

In 1876, thugs from Chicago broke open the white marble sarcophagus in which the President lay, attempting to steal Lincoln’s body and hold it for ransom. They couldn’t move the 500-pound iron coffin. Pinkerton officers arrested them after they fled the scene.

The interior of the tomb is highly polished marble trimmed with bronze. Lincoln was disinterred and his body hidden several times as the tomb was rebuilt and remodeled. In the end, his coffin was sealed in an iron cage, then sunk into concrete in a vault ten feet below the marble floor of the burial chamber. A massive red granite cenotaph in the shape of a sarcophagus marks the gravesite. Crypts in the chamber’s south wall hold the remains of Lincoln’s wife Mary and three of their four sons: Edward, William (who had died at the White House), and Thomas. The eldest son, Robert T. Lincoln, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Kodachrome postcard of the cenotaph, surrounded by flags from places where Lincoln's body lay in state.

Kodachrome postcard of the cenotaph, surrounded by flags from places where Lincoln’s body lay in state.

The Oak Ridge Cemetery temporary vault, the scene of President Lincoln’s second burial, is located at the base of a hill north of the Tomb. It is also considered a historical treasure now.

Also located within Oak Ridge Cemetery are several War Memorials. These honor citizens of Illinois who served in World War II and the Wars in Korea and Vietnam.

The 365-acre Oak Ridge Cemetery is also the final resting place of 70 other notable historic figures, including labor leaders, poets, four Illinois governors, and Lincoln’s law partner. An audio tour called “Stories in Stone” provides a guided tour of unique monuments from the 1800s. It’s available from the cemetery office at the Monument Avenue entrance to the cemetery.

Useful links:

Oak Ridge Cemetery’s website

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s page on Lincoln’s tomb

The history of Lincoln’s tomb

The National Park Service’s survey of Lincoln’s tomb

Slideshow of events at Lincoln’s tomb

Why is the nose on Lincoln’s bronze bust so shiny?

Information on the other people buried at Oak Ridge

GPS information on CemeteryRegistry.us

Other Presidential grave sites on Cemetery Travel:

George Washington

Ulysses S. Grant

Cemetery of the Week #87: Washington’s tomb

Postcard of Washington's tomb from 1907

Postcard of Washington’s tomb, dated 1907

Washington’s tomb
Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, Virginia 22309
Telephone: (703) 780-2000
Tomb constructed: 1831
Number of interments in and around the vault: 25
Open: The estate is open 365 days of the year: November through February, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. March, September, and October, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. April 31st through August, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults $17, Seniors $16, Youths 6-11 $8. Children 5 and under are free. An additional $2 fee may be added. Details are here.

In 1797, George Washington happily retired from public life to return to his Virginia estate on the Potomac River. In December 1799, he toured the estate, called Mount Vernon, in the sleet. Afterward, he developed a sore throat that led to complications. After a two-day illness, Washington died while checking his own pulse in his master bedchamber on December 14, 1799. He was 67.

The Masonic ritual at Washington's first burial, from a first day of issue envelope from 1956.

The Masonic ritual at Washington’s first burial, from a first day of issue envelope from 1956.

According to Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb? A Tour of Presidential Gravesites, Washington feared being buried alive, so he directed his secretary to keep his body around for three days after death. Washington was originally buried in the simple family vault on the property. The rector of Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, read the Episcopal Order of Burial, followed by a Masonic funeral rite conducted by two of Washington’s Lodge brothers.

In his will, Washington selected a site for a new brick tomb to replace the original vault. After an unsuccessful attempt at grave-robbing, the new tomb was finally designed. It wasn’t completed until 1831. His body was moved there, along with the remains of his wife Martha (who died in 1802), and other family members. In 1837, the tomb was enlarged to accommodate two marble sarcophagi, which were then provided for the remains of General and Mrs. Washington.

Over the tomb’s arched gateway, a marble slab says “Within this enclosure rest the remains of General George Washington.” One of my postcards says, the tomb “is a spot sacred to all Americans, a shrine visited annually by thousands.” The official website puts that number at around one million visitors each year, for a total of more than 80 million since 1860, when the Mount Vernon Ladies Association bought the estate in order to preserve it. The nonprofit organization – the oldest national historical association in the country – continues to oversee the estate now.

Postcard of Washington's tomb from 1932. One of the sarcophagi is visible.

Postcard of Washington’s tomb from 1932. One of the sarcophagi is visible.

The postcard goes on to say that “It is the custom for the officers and crew of all vessels to stand at attention and for the ships bell to be tolled in passing Mount Vernon on the Potomac” out of reverence for the first president. Naval ships continue the tradition.

From April through October, a wreath-laying ceremony takes place daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Mount Vernon also has a slave burial ground, which contains graves of both slaves and free blacks who worked for Washington and his family. Because the graves are unmarked, the number and identifies of those buried there is largely unknown. That said, among the unknowns lies William Lee, George Washington’s personal servant during the Revolutionary War.

In 1983, a Slave Memorial was designed and built by architecture students from Howard University. It stands adjacent to a Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association marker placed in 1929 to label the slave burial ground.

Useful links:
The extensive official Mount Vernon website

Pictures of the tomb, sarcophagus, and the original tomb

Details on the grave-robbing attempt that inspired the construction of the new tomb, as Washington had wanted

Waymarking the tomb

The history of Naval honors to Washington’s tomb

GPS information on CemeteryRegistry.us

A fine introduction to Lake View Cemetery

Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery  (OH)   (Images of America)Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery (OH) by Marian J. Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Morton’s book does a great job of introducing an unfamiliar visitor to the cemetery. She introduces the important permanent residents with an appropriate amount of information, then focuses on the lovely and unusual statuary in the cemetery’s permanent collection. She includes Cleveland-area history, illustrated with just the right number of vintage photographs. She discusses the varieties of nationalities-of-birth represented in Lake View.

My chief issue with this cemetery guide is the cover photo, which — while hinting at the diversity of monuments within Lake View Cemetery — gives no indication how beautiful the place is. Even in mid-November, with most of the leaves already drifted to the grass, Lake View is a gem of garden cemetery design.

I found this book in the shop at the Cleveland Clinic, which turns out to be just down the road from Lake View Cemetery. Morton’s guidebook encouraged me to visit Lake View for myself. I am so glad I did. The restful beauty was exactly the respite I needed from my hospital vigil.

You needn’t go to such lengths to get your own copy of the book. You can order it from Amazon: Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery (OH) (Images of America)

View all my reviews

Cemetery of the Week #42: Lake View Cemetery

The Garfield Monument

Lake View Cemetery
12316 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-2415
Telephone: 216-421-2665
Email: info@lakeviewcemetery.com
Established: 1869
Size: 285 acres
Number of interments: Over 105,000
Open: Daily from 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. The Garfield Monument and Wade Chapel are open daily between April 1 and mid-November from 9 a.m. until 4.

Cleveland, Ohio’s Lake View Cemetery is a large, lovely rural garden cemetery that climbs a ridge east of town and provides spectacular views of Lake Erie and the metropolis stretching westward below. The cemetery also performs as an arboretum, in which many of the trees labeled.

Archangel Michael

Beneath the stately old trees, much of the cemetery is full of heavy granite markers, but among them stand some marvelous works of art, including the warrior archangel Michael, guarding the grave of John M. Hay, Secretary of State under President William McKinley. Two grieving women, reminiscent of the Duke of Burgundy’s Mourners, attend the sarcophagus of the E. M. Peck family. More modern figures climb the heavy granite monument to the Evans family, re-purposed from the family’s swimming pool.

Lake View Mourner

Just inside the Euclid Gate stands the poignant monument to the 175 victims of the Collinwood School fire, in which an angel protects children with her arms. The unexplained fire struck the relatively new building in March 1908. Teachers managed to save half their charges, but some children panicked and fell, blocking the stairwell so that others couldn’t escape. The tragedy brought national attention to the issue of school safety for the first time.

Another of Lake View’s treasures is the Wade Chapel. The classical building is named for Jeptha H. Wade, who served as one of the cemetery’s first presidents. His namesake grandson hired Louis Comfort Tiffany and gave him carte blanche to design the chapel, which is unusual amongst cemetery buildings because it does not contain any permanent remains. Tiffany designed the breathtaking Resurrection window, which functions as the room’s focal point, in addition to the Biblical murals lining the walls. Because Tiffany refused to have soot besmirch his artwork, his friend Thomas Edison wired the chapel for electric lights, making it the first building with electricity in Cleveland.

The showpiece of Lake View Cemetery is the monument to assassinated President James A. Garfield. Garfield was born in a log cabin in Cuyahoga County. Although his father died when he was 2, he was elected to the Ohio Senate, a post he left to serve as a Major General in the Civil War. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, then the U.S. Senate, but received the Republican nomination for President before he took office. He served four months of his presidential term before a deranged fan shot him in the back. One of the bullets lodged in his spine. Garfield lingered for 80 days, before infection from his inept doctors’ unsterilized fingers finished him off.

Nine years after his death, the President was laid to rest inside this monument, which has been called the first true mausoleum in America, since it serves both as his tomb and a tribute to his memory. The structure combines Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine architecture in a tower, domed interior, and crypt. A statue of Garfield captures him as if he’s just stepped out of his chair, a roll of parchment clutched in his hand. Around the room, stained glass windows embody the 13 original colonies as secular maidens. A maiden representing Ohio joins them as a gilded mosaic.

Garfield’s coffin lies in the crypt, alongside his wife Lucretia. Their daughter Molly, who was 14 at the time of the assassination, and her husband Joseph Stanley-Brown, who served as Garfield’s private secretary, are inurned nearby.

November 18th is Garfield’s birthday; this past Saturday celebrated his 180th birthday. Wreaths were laid, flags presented, and both boy scouts and girl scouts toured the monument. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and was able to enjoy the celebration and explore the tomb before it closed for the winter.

Lake View Cemetery presents a full schedule of events, including moonlight nature walks, architectural walking tours, and much, much more. The calendar is online here. Check back for 2012 events.

Upcoming on December 3, 2011 is a tree-trimming at the grave of Rev. H. C. Schwann, who is credited with bringing the first candle-lit Christmas tree into a church in 1851. The tree-trimming will be followed in the afternoon by a program of holiday music and lights outside the Wade Chapel.

Useful links:

Lake View Cemetery’s website

Interior of the Wade Chapel

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

Architect’s conception of Garfield’s monument

My review of Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery

Other Presidential graves on Cemetery Travel:

John F. Kennedy:  Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia

Ulysses S. Grant: General Grant National Monument in New York City, New York