Preserving historic community assets, while improving visitor experience and providing for long term sustainability of this iconic landmark were all important elements in this complex master plan.


  • multiple site improvements to historic cemetery

Established in 1847, Hollywood Cemetery is not only a national historic landmark and the final resting place of two U.S. (and one Confederate) presidents, it’s also one of Richmond’s favorite places. In the early 1990’s, however, the Cemetery was quickly running out of space for traditional burials. The Cemetery turned to Quinn Evans to create new burial options as well as to preserve important historic features and find creative ways to share this important, beautiful resource with the wider community.  
The original master plan identified over 10,000 new burial opportunities by reclaiming unused roads and paths and by providing new burial options in mausoleums, columbaria and memorial scatter gardens. In the process, has also worked with the Cemetery to restore and preserve many notable features of the landscape as well as to design compatible new spaces for a variety of uses.  

Presidents Circle

The most visible of these improvements was the restoration of Presidents Circle. That project replaced worn dirt paths leading to the gravesites of Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler with granite cobbles, restored stone curbs, walls and monuments; added parking, and created over 500 new burial opportunities in cremation niches lining the walks. The project was an immediate success, as the Cemetery saw an immediate increase in visitors and corresponding interest in the history of the entire facility.  

Improving Visitor Experience

Subsequent improvements include two new terraces flanking the Palmer Memorial Chapel and Mausoleum. These overlooks have proven especially popular with the public due to their spectacular views of the James River, Belle Isle and downtown Richmond. Within the past year, the first phase of The Glade, a scatter garden located near the main entrance, was completed along with a complete restoration of Davis Circle, the burial site of Jefferson Davis. 

In addition, Quinn Evans has worked with Cemetery staff on two important and ongoing maintenance and conservation efforts. The first involves the restoration of several thousand linear feet of stone curbs, gutters and retaining walls throughout the property. Both beautiful and utilitarian, these distinctive features are critical to the historic, “rural” style of the Hollywood landscape. The other involves planning for the conservation and replenishment of the Cemetery’s 2,000 trees, some of which predate Hollywood’s establishment over 170 years ago.

Design is currently underway for three additional projects: a third terrace and niche wall overlooking the James River, new memorial walls at the scatter garden in the Glade, and renovation of the maintenance complex, including a tax credit restoration of the historic stable, now the center of Hollywood’s daily operations. Long-term plans call for new paths and gathering areas in the Long Bottom area of the Cemetery as well as the possible restoration of Hollywood’s long-unused ponds and fountains.