Hebrew Cemetery

Richmond, VA
United States
Hebrew Cemetery

Landscape Information

Situated on Shockhoe Hill northwest of downtown Richmond, this park-like block and grid cemetery was founded in 1816 by Congregation Beth Shalome. The original one-acre section adjacent to the city-owned Shockhoe Cemetery has incrementally expanded in size with additions in the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth to eventually encompass 8.4 acres. An early matahar house used for burial preparation was replaced in 1898 with a Romanesque Revival brick chapel designed by Richmond architect James Dimmock. The nineteenth century section of the cemetery, organized in a grid of 54 sections, is enclosed by brick retaining walls and a black iron fence. The northeastern section of this area is partitioned by a steep terrace and features a monument marking the circular plot of the prominent Millhiser family. A stepped brick wall surrounds the 1911 parcel and an iron fence set atop brick piers inscribes the 1998 addition. An elaborate wrought-iron fence designed by Richmond artist William Barksdale Myers marks the Soldier’s Section, containing the graves of thirty Jewish Confederate soldiers and a central granite monument.

Though a comprehensive landscape plan has never been developed, the lawns are dotted with mature elms, magnolias, arborvitae, and Japanese maples. Grave markers are comprised primarily of granite headstones and obelisks and some families have ornamented their burial plots with boxwoods and other plants. The cemetery is organized by a network of paved roads and brick pathways. Today, the Congregation Beth Ahabah maintains the cemetery, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.