Riverview Cemetery was initiated by the city of Richmond in 1887 with the purchase of fifty-three acres immediately west of Hollywood Cemetery on the James River. It marked the city’s response to Hollywood’s success, as well as that of the city’s cemeteries on the north side and east end, Shockoe Hill and Oakwood. Riverview was laid out in a curvilinear design, with six roundabouts amid winding avenues, all overlooking the picturesque falls of the river. It would eventually encompass ninety acres. The cemetery received its first burial in 1890.
Soon thereafter, various civic and religious groups created clusters of sites within the cemetery, including American legionnaires, the Greek orthodox community, and Armenian immigrants.The site remained closed to African American burials, however, until 1968.
In the new millennium, Muslims in the region established an Islamic garden section for the community’s burials.
The cemetery remains under city management, and the administrative office for all the city’s cemeteries stands near the entrance.
Podcast for William S. Watkins, Sr. (funeral director), 1888-1969, by Kayleigh Beadles and Madelyn Knopf:
Podcast for Sheikh Ismail Abdul-Karim (imam and journalist), 1954-2006, by Thomas Marlowe and Mark Zvijac:
For more information, see:
T. Tyler Potterfield, Nonesuch Place: A History of the Richmond Landscape (Charleston: History Press, 2009)