LA (CA, USA): Glendale Forest Lawn Cemetery

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Forest Lawn is ‘grand’: gently sloping grounds, fresh green lawns, fountains and a historic mausoleum.  The cemetery was founded in 1906, but it was Hubert Eaton –  The Builder – who assumed ownership in 1917 – who gave the park its signature look. Eaton believed that it was his duty to make Forest Lawn a place where people could celebrate the lives of those who have died; he considered tombstones as gloomy, and set his sights on making the “memorial park” a place of beauty. So he eliminated upright grave markers and brought in works by established artists.  His idea was that after all the plots were sold out, the place could still make some money by opening to the public, who, for a fee, could come and enjoy Forest Lawn’s “art and architectural treasures. Eaton laid down his vision in a central monument called the Builder’s Creed:

I Believe In A Happy Eternal Life.
I Believe Those Of Us Who Are Left Behind Should Be Glad In The Certain Belief That Those Gone Before, Who Believed In Him, Have Entered Into That Happier Life.
I Believe, Most Of All, In A Christ That Smiles And Loves You And Me.
I Therefore Know The Cemeteries Of Today Are Wrong, Because They Depict An End, Not A Beginning. They Have Consequently Become Unsightly Stone yards Full Of Inartistic Symbols And Depressing Customs; Places That Do Nothing For Humanity Save A Practical Act, And Not That Well.
I Therefore Prayerfully Resolve On This New Year’s Day, 1917, That I Shall Endeavor To Build Forest Lawn As Different, As Unlike Other Cemeteries As Sunshine Is To Darkness, As Eternal Life Is Unlike Death. I Shall Try To Build At Forest Lawn A Great Park, Devoid Of Misshapen Monuments And Other Customary Signs Of Earthly Death, But Filled With Towering Trees, Sweeping Lawns, Splashing Fountains, Singing Birds, Beautiful Statuary, Cheerful Flowers, Noble Memorial Architecture With Interiors Full Of Light And Color, And Redolent Of The World’s Best History And Romances.
I Believe These Things Educate And Uplift A Community.
Forest Lawn Shall Become A Place Where Lovers New And Old Shall Love To Stroll And Watch The Sunset’s Glow, Planning For The Future Or Reminiscing Of The Past; A Place Where Artists Study And Sketch; Where School Teachers Bring Happy Children To See Things They Read Of In Books, Where Little Churches, Triumphant In The Knowledge That From Their Pulpits Only Words Of Love Can Be Spoken; Where Memorialization Of Loved Ones In Sculptured Marble And Pictorial Glass Shall Be Encouraged But Controlled By Acknowledged Artists; A Place Where The Sorrowing Will Be Soothed And Strengthened Because It Will Be God’s Garden. A Place That Shall Be Protected By An Immense Endowment Care Fund, The Principal Of Which Can Never Be Expended—Only The Income Therefrom Used To Care For And Perpetuate This Garden of Memory.
This Is The Builder’s Dream; This Is The Builder’s Creed.       

The Great Mausoleum was fashioned after Campo Santo in Genoa, Italy. The mausoleum, protected by guards and closed to the public, is where in 2009 Michael Jackson was interred.

The look and feel of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park are quite different from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery we also visited. And completely different from the LA Pet Memorial


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