L.A. Local, News, The Inside Noise
Mar 22, 2022

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery Declared Historic Site After 122 Years

Yes you read that correctly, it took 122 years for the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery to be declared a historic site. (There’s a joke about making it one day in there somewhere).

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The Los Angeles City Council has finally designated The Hollywood Forever Cemetery as a historic-cultural monument. The decision was a unanimous recommendation from the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission. The cemetery, which was founded in 1899, was included in the National Register of Historic Places on its 100th anniversary.

“I was surprised that this wasn’t already on our list,” Commissioner Richard Barron said during the meeting. “It’s always interesting when something comes before us that you think, ‘That’s not a monument yet?’ ” 

Character-defining structures include the Historic Chapel designed by Hunt and Eager as part of the cemetery’s original entry complex, the Cathedral Mausoleum designed by Marston and Van Pelt, the Chapel of the Psalms designed by Frank Gibson, the Clark Mausoleum designed by Robert Farquhar, the Casket Display Room, the Bell Tower, the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum, and the Masonic Temple constructed in 1931 by Morgan, Walls & Clements.

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery

As part of the cemetery’s western development, it set aside a portion of the property for Jewish burials in 1927. That year, the cemetery also began developing a mausoleum exclusively for Jewish interment. “This really also reflected the growing Jewish community in Los Angeles, and also their westward expansion as well, as Jewish enclaves emerged in mid-Wilshire and Hollywood, other temples were constructed further westward and there was a desire to be closer to those centers of faith and to have facilities that were closer to where they resided rather than having to travel,” Goers said.

Goers added that many of the celebrities who were buried at the cemetery in its early years could have chosen more established cemeteries but decided to “be buried instead in the community that they helped build.” she continued on, citing: “We can talk about the buildings and structures and landscape features that make this property significant in terms of its development, but one of the things that is abundantly clear in researching this property and experiencing it is its intangible connection to the history of Hollywood … the fact that those burials were people who helped pioneer and develop Hollywood.”