September 5, 2018
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Hollywood Cemetery, located at 451 North Bridge Street, is one of the oldest organized Cemeteries in this area. On April 30, 1897, Thomas Lenoir Gwyn and wife, Amelia sold nearly six-and-a-half acres to the Commissioners of the Town of Elkin for the Town cemetery. Located on the northwest side of what was then named the “Old State Road to Virginia,” the land was just north of the 1891 Elkin Land Company development. The first known mention of the name “Hollywood Cemetery” came in a December 2, 1897, newspaper article announcing that a monument had been erected at the grave of Carrie Gwyn Smith, daughter of Thomas L. Gwyn and second wife of Alexander M. Smith. She, however, was not the first to be buried there, for the Cemetery has served as the grave yard for members of the Richard Gwyn family since, at least, the death of Mary Elizabeth Gwyn Chatham on December 23, 1875. She was the daughter of Elkin patriarch Richard Gwyn and the wife of industrialist Alexander Chatham. Other members of the Gwyn family known to be buried in the cemetery prior to its becoming Hollywood Cemetery were Richard Gwyn (1881) and his wife, Elizabeth (1885), Richard R. Gwyn (1894), son of Richard Gwyn; and Fannie Gwyn Smith (1895), daughter of Richard R. Gwyn and first wife of Alexander M. Smith. Later, not only were Thomas L. Gwyn, Alexander Chatham, and Alexander M. Smith buried there, but Hollywood Cemetery became the final resting place for most of Elkin’s leaders and their families, as well as others throughout the twentieth century.
The small 1980 section is located at the southwest corner of the 1934 section and is not separated from it by a lane or other divider. (The remaining sections of the cemetery, not included in the historic district, are largely treeless and are terraced downhill from the older sections.) The portion of the Cemetery that is listed on the Register of Historic Places includes around 1,100 graves, less than two dozen of which are in the 1980 addition. Grave stones consist primarily of large and small obelisks and tablet head and foot stones consistent with those typically found in cemeteries of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Deeds; ELC Map; EBO; Journal).