Shockoe Hill

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Coordinates: 37°32′54″N 77°25′39″W / 37.54833°N 77.42750°W / 37.54833; -77.42750

View of Shockoe Hill from Church Hill

Shockoe Hill is one of several hills on which much of the oldest portion of the City of Richmond, Virginia, U.S., was built. It extends from the downtown area, including where the state capitol complex sits, north almost a mile to a point where the hill falls off sharply to the winding path of Shockoe Creek. Interstate 95 now bisects the hill, separating the highly urbanized downtown portion from the more residential northern portion.

Near the northern edge of Shockoe Hill are two important cemeteries. Shockoe Hill Cemetery is the burial place of Chief Justice John Marshall, American Revolutionary War hero Peter Francisco, Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew, and many other notables. It also is the resting place of many Confederate States of America soldiers. Hundreds of deceased Union Army POWs were buried in less desirable land across the street to the east before being moved after the War.[1]

The Hebrew Cemetery of Richmond, founded in 1816, contains within it what is reputed to be the largest Jewish military burial ground in the world outside of Tel Aviv. Many of Richmond's Jewish elite, including William Thalhimer, founder of the Thalhimers department store, are found there.

Next to the Hebrew Cemetery is The Almshouse building, built in 1860 to be the city poor house, which saw service as an American Civil War hospital and which in 1865 briefly served as the home of the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets.[2] Many Confederate soldiers buried in the two cemeteries had died while hospitalized in that building.

In addition, an unacknowledged African Burial Ground for slaves and free blacks which was also known as Potter's Field is located at Hospital St. at 5th St., directly to the east of the Hebrew Cemetery. This cemetery originally comprised one acre for free people of color and one acre for slaves. This burial ground was established in 1816 by the City of Richmond and expanded over time. This land, however, contains nothing on its surface that would cause it to be visibly recognizable as a cemetery today.


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