The land where Ivy Hill Cemetery now sits was part of a 66 acre parcel owned by Hugh Charles Smith. Mr. Smith was the son of Alexandria merchant Hugh Smith and was active in the management of the Wilkes Street Pottery. When Mr. Smith died in 1854, he left finances to take care of his boys, but his land was not left to either.
Already being the burial site of family members, the land was divided, with one third to become Ivy Hill Cemetery. With the establishment of the cemetery, plans were in the works to erect “a neat gate and a keeper’s lodge”. Another stipulation for the creation of Ivy Hill was to have a receiving vault built as cold storage for pending burials. It was up to the families to bury their own, back in the 1800’s, and Mother Nature didn’t always coordinate her schedule with the loss of loved ones. So, until there were more suitable conditions for digging, people were temporarily placed in the vault.
Ivy Hill has been associated with Alexandria’s history since the cemetery’s beginning. Many families who helped shape our town’s destiny in the 19th century are buried here along with thousands more residents. Being the final resting place of Alexandria’s famous, infamous, and ordinary citizens, Ivy Hill tells a rich story. As you meander through its grounds you will recognize names reflected through-out our city: on buildings, on the streets, and the names of current businesses. Most of these people built, lived in, and were significant to, Alexandria.