Rest In Peace 4

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village is located at 1218 Glendon Avenue in Westwood, California. I had never been there before and I drove right past the entrance. Google repeated three times that I had reached my destination but I hadn’t seen it. I turned my car around, parked on the street and went looking for the cemetery on foot.

The entrance to the cemetery is hidden. It’s up a narrow access road that looks more like an alley than a street and the graveyard isn’t visible from the street. The cemetery is hidden behind buildings. One of those buildings is the Westwood Public Library.

Below you can see the ENTIRE cemetery in these two shots.

This cemetery probably has more stars per square foot than any other cemetery in Los Angeles County.

Below are a few of the notable individuals buried at Westwood Village.

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Natalie Wood circa 1962.

Natalie Wood is one of the few child stars who was able to make the transition from child star to full fledged movie star. One of her early roles was as the girl who didn’t believe in Santa Clause in the movie Miracle on 34th Street (1947). She made the transition from child star to teenage star opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1956). In 1956, she also had a pivotal role in John Ford’s The Searchers which starred John Wayne.

In 1961, she achieved full blown movie stardom with West Side Story which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In the 1960s, she starred in Splendor in the Grass (1961), Gypsy (1962), Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), Sex and the Single Girl (1964) and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969). She drowned under mysterious circumstances in 1981. She was filming Brainstorm at the time of her death and that film was eventually released in 1983. She was 43 years old.

Natalie Wood was born July 20, 1938 and died on November 29, 1981.

Eddie Albert circa 1960.

Eddie Albert was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1906. He became well-known as a result of his work in the film Roman Holiday (1953). The film starred Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and Albert received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Later he appeared in The Longest Day (1962) and Captain Newman, M.D. (1963). From 1965 to 1971 Albert co-starred with Eva Gabor in the very successful television series Green Acres. After his television series ended he worked in motion pictures again and received another Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the film The Heartbreak Kid (1972). His later films included The Longest Yard (1974) and Airport 1979. He died from a pneumonia at the age of 99.

Eddie Albert was born on April 22, 1906 and died on May 26, 2005. He married Margo in 1942. She was best known for her role as Maria in the Ronald Coleman version of Lost Horizon (1937).

Donna Reed circa 1953.

Donna Reed was born in Dennison, Iowa in 1921. She didn’t make many memorable movies but she made one that practically everyone in America has seen. In the history of American film there are few movies like that. Before she made that film she was in Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942), The Human Comedy (1943) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). Then, in 1946 she had the female lead opposite Jimmy Stewart in Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. That film is one of the most watched films ever released in the United States. There is no way she could have topped it but she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for From Here to Eternity (1953). After Eternity she was in The Benny Goodman Story (1956) opposite Steve Allen but at that point her film career was pretty much over.

She made the transition to television and starred in her own TV series called The Donna Reed Show which ran from 1958-1966. Her husband in the show was the very likeable Carl Betz and her daughter was portrayed by Shelley Fabares.

Reed was married three times. First to make up artist William Tuttle (1943-1945), then to producer Tony Owen (1945-1971) and finally to Army colonel Grover W. Asmus (1974-her death). Donna Reed was born on January 27, 1921 and died on January 14, 1986. She died from pancreatic cancer. She was 64 years old.

Note: Grover Asmus died in 2003 but his death date has yet to be added to their marker.

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Lew Ayres circa 1932.

Lew Ayres was born in Minneapolis in 1908 and he played in a band before he arrived in Hollywood in the late 1920s. Ayres made two movies of note around 1930. One was opposite Greta Garbo called The Kiss (1929). The other was selected as the Best Picture of 1929/30. That film was All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). After Western Front, he made a number of less than memorable films until he made Holiday (1938) opposite Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. That same year he starred as Young Dr. Kildare which became a series so more Dr. Kildare movies followed over the years.

After World War II he starred opposite some big female stars including Olivia DeHavilland in The Dark Mirror (1946), Ann Sheridan in The Unfaithful (1947) and Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948). In the early 1960s he starred in two films with all star casts: Advise and Consent (1962) and The Carpetbaggers (1964). Then, Ayres worked in television; everything from The Big Valley to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Lew Ayres was born December 28, 1908 and died on December 30, 1996. He was 88 years old.

Eve Arden circa 1945.

Eve Arden was born in Mill Valley, California in 1908. Once in Hollywood, Arden was in RKO’s Stage Door (1937) with Ginger Rodgers and Katherine Hepburn. She also had a part in a lesser known Marx Brothers’ movie — At the Circus (1939) and in Clark Gable’s Comrade X (1941). She was featured in that great Warner Bros. film The Unfaithful (1947) with Ann Sheridan, Zachary Scott and Lew Ayres. Yet, Arden is best remembered for three roles in three films. The first as Joan Crawford’s friend and sidekick in Mildred Pierce (1945). The second as Jimmy Stewart’s secretary in Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and the third as Rydell High’s principal in Grease (1978).

Like many other film stars she turned to television in the 1950s and starred in the immensely popular Our Miss Brooks from 1952-1956.

Eve Arden was born April 30, 1908 and died November 12, 1990. The cause of death was a heart attack. She was 82 years old. She’s buried next to her second husband, actor and producer, Brooks West.

Darryl F. Zannuck circa 1934.

Darryl F. Zanuck was born in Wahoo, Nebraska on September 5, 1902. In 1908, he and his mother moved to Los Angeles. At 15, he signed up for the service and after serving in World War I, Zanuck returned to Los Angeles and worked for both Mack Sennett and Jack Warner. In 1933, Zanuck entered into a partnership with Joseph Schenck and the company they created was Twentieth Century Pictures. This incarnation of the company existed from 1933 to 1935. During these three years Twentieth Century Pictures were released through United Artists. In 1935 Zanuck and Schenck bought Fox Studios and from that point forward the company was known as 20th Century-Fox.

Zanuck fought to be a part of the military in World War II and saw some action in France. When he returned to the United States he took his place as the undisputed head of 20th Century-Fox. He is the credited producer on numerous films including: Wilson (1944), Dragonwyck (1946), The Razor’s Edge (1946), Nightmare Alley (1947), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), The Snake Pit (1948), Pinky (1949), Twelve O’Clock High (1949), All About Eve (1950), Viva Zapata! (1952), With a Song in My Heart (1952), The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit (1956) and The Longest Day (1962).

Zanuck died of pneumonia. He was 77 years old.

That’s a whole lot of text for a burial marker! I found it difficult to read even when I was there. 

Cornel Wilde circa 1945.

Cornel Wilde was born in 1915. He ended up in Hollywood in the early 1940s and his first big success was in the Monty Woolley film Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942). He followed that up opposite Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven (1945) and A Song to Remember (1945). In the latter film he portrayed Frederic Chopin and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Those films were followed by another hit, Forever Amber (1947), opposite Linda Darnell. In 1948, he starred opposite Ida Lupino in the very enjoyable film Road House. In the 1950s he starred in the Academy Award winning Best Picture of 1952 The Greatest Show on Earth. Wilde then produced and starred in a magnificent film noir opposite his wife Jean Wallace. That film is The Big Combo (1955).

He continued to make films throughout the 1960s and 1970s but none were successful either artistically or commercially. The only film of any note that is remembered today is The Naked Prey (1966).

Cornel Wilde was born on October 13, 1915 and died of leukemia on October 16, 1989. He was 77 years old.

Burt Lancaster circa 1950.

Burt Lancaster was born in lower Manhattan in 1913. He worked as a circus acrobat when he was young and eventually served in World War II. After the war, he was appearing in a New York play when he was spotted by Harold Hecht. Hecht thought Lancaster had the looks necessary for a leading man in motion pictures and was able to convince Lancaster to move to Hollywood. Hal Wallis agreed with Hecht’s assessment and signed Lancaster.

Burt Lancaster made a series of highly successful films including: The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), Criss Cross (1949), Jim Thorpe – All-American (1951), Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), The Rose Tattoo (1955), Marty (1955),* The Rainmaker (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Sweet Smell of Success (1958), Separate Tables (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960), Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Swimmer (1968), Airport (1970), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), Atlantic City (1980) and Local Hero (1983). His last film of note was Field of Dreams (1989).

Lancaster suffered a stroke in 1990 that left him partially paralyzed and he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1994. Lancaster was born on November 2, 1913 and died on October 20, 1994. He was 80 years old.

*He was the producer of Marty with Harold Hecht. I didn’t see any family nearby but his friend and partner, Harold Hecht, is about fifteen feet away.

Kirk Douglas circa 1952.

Kirk Douglas was born in New York in 1916 and ended up in Hollywood in the mid-1940s through the help of Lauren Bacall. (They knew each other in New York City.) His first film was opposite Barbara Stanwyck in The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers (1946). Next up was the classic noir film Out of the Past (1947) opposite Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum. The following year he starred in Champion (1949) and then had a string of hits in the 1950s. Douglas starred in Young Man with a Horn (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), Detective Story (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Lust for Life (1956) and Paths of Glory (1957). His last two films of note were Spartacus (1960) and Seven Days in May (1964).

Douglas continued to make films over the next three decades. He had a stroke in 1996 which had an affect on his speech but it didn’t stop him from living. He died in 2020 at the age of 103.

Kirk Douglas was born on December 9, 1916 and died on February 5, 2020. No cause of death was given at the time of his death but one can assume it was natural causes or old age.

Walter Matthau circa 1980.

Walter Matthau made a series of movies with director Billy Wilder and actor Jack Lemmon. Their first collaboration together was The Fortune Cookie (1966) which won Matthau the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The trio also made The Front Page (1974) and Buddy Buddy (1981) together. Matthau also starred in The Odd Couple (1968), Hello Dolly (1969), Plaza Suite (1971), Kotch (1971), The Sunshine Boys (1975) and The Bad News Bears (1976).

There’s an Alfred Hitchcock Presents that Matthau did with Betty Field that I like. It’s called “A Very Moral Theft” (1960). In the episode Betty Field’s character, Helen, who is older and on the verge of spinsterhood wants to marry Matthau’s character, Harry Wade, but Wade isn’t so sure. Helen makes the ultimate relationship mistake; she loans Harry Wade money at which point things go unexpectedly wrong.

Walter Matthau died from a heart attack. He was 79 years old.

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Jack Lemmon circa 1955.

Jack Lemmon‘s first big role was opposite Judy Holiday in It Should Happen to You (1954). He followed that up with Mister Roberts (1955) and then starred in a string of very successful films including: Some Like it Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Odd Couple (1968), The Out-of-Towners (1971), Save the Tiger (1973), The Front Page (1974), The China Syndrome (1979) and Missing (1983).

Lemmon’s son, Chris Lemmon, wrote a book regarding his father. In the book Neil Simon recounted a story in which super agent Swifty Lazar threw a party for Simon when Simon first arrived in Hollywood. Simon said some of the biggest stars in Hollywood were at the party including Gregory Peck, Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, Billy Wilder, Jack Lemon and Fred Astaire. Simon recounted that none of the stars made any attempt to engage him in conversation except for Jack Lemmon. Lemmon was the only one who walked over and spoke to him without being prompted by Lazar. Simon said he always remembered that.

Jack Lemmon was born on February 8, 1925 and died on June 27, 2001. The cause of death was bladder cancer. He was 76 years old.

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Billy Wilder circa 1950.

Billy Wilder was born in Poland in 1906. In the 1920s, as a young adult, he moved to Berlin, first, and then to Paris. In 1933, he fortunately left Europe for good and moved to America. In Hollywood, he found a job at Paramount and along with his writing partner, Charles Brackett, he worked on a series of scripts that included: Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938-Paramount), Midnight (1939-Paramount), Ninotchka (1939-MGM), Hold Back the Dawn (1941-Paramount) and Ball of Fire (1941-RKO). [Note: Paramount loaned out Wilder and Brackett to other studios to work on scripts.]

In 1942, Wilder got his chance to direct a Ginger Rodgers film, The Major and the Minor. Rodgers co-star was Ray Milland and the film was a success. From the moment The Major and the Minor was released until the 1970s Wilder was a major film director who created a series of films that are held in even higher esteem today than they were when they were released.

A partial list of the films Wilder directed include: Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), A Foreign Affair (1948), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Some Like it Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Private Life of Sherlock Homes (1970), The Front Page (1974) and Fedora (1978).

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The text on his headstone is a homage to the last line of Some Like it Hot. Billy Wilder was born June 22, 1906 and died on March 27, 2002 from pneumonia. At the time of his death he was 95 years old.

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Brian Keith circa 1955.

Brian Keith was born in New Jersey in 1921. After he arrived in Hollywood, he starred opposite Ginger Rogers in Tight Spot (1955) and opposite Maureen O’Hara in The Parent Trap (1961). He also had a role in a Best Picture nominee: The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966). Opposite Doris Day he starred in the very enjoyable With Six You Get an Eggroll (1968).

From 1966-1971 Keith starred in the long running television series Family Affair with Sebastian Cabot.

In most of his work Brian Keith had a pleasant, warm and easy-going persona yet there is an Alfred Hitchcock Presents where he plays against type. It’s in an episode titled “Your Witness” (1960). In the episode he portrays an attorney and unfaithful husband who’s a heel. A horrible heel. He’s just horrible! Unfortunately, for him, his wife in the story gets tired of his abuse and when the opportunity arises — gets even.

Daisy Keith was one of Brian Keith’s daughters. In April of 1997 Daisy Keith committed suicide. Keith, who had both lung cancer and emphysema, committed suicide — with a gun — on June 24, 1997. He was 75 years old.

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Janet Leigh circa 1948.

Janet Leigh was born in Stockton, California in 1927. In the mid 1940s, Leigh was working at a California ski resort when she caught the attention of MGM’s Norma Shearer who was at the resort on vacation. Shearer thought Leigh had star potential so Shearer set up an interview for Leigh at MGM and then persuaded the MGM executives to give Leigh a studio contract. Leigh made a series of average but unspectacular films until she hit her stride in 1958. That year she starred with Charlton Heston and Marlene Dietrich in Orson Wells’ Touch of Evil. She followed that up with her most famous role, as Marion Crane, in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Two years later she appeared in John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and followed that up with George Sidney’s Bye Bye Birdie (1963). She semi-retired after that to concentrate on her family. 

Years later she starred opposite her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, in The Fog (1980) and in Halloween: H20 (1998).

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Janet Leigh was married four times. Her most famous marriage was to Tony Curtis which lasted from 1951-1962. Her last marriage was to Robert Brandt. She was married to him from 1962 to the time of her death. Leigh was born on July 6, 1927 and died on October 3, 2004 from vasculitis. Vasculitis is a blood vessel disorder. She was 77 years old.

Marilyn Monroe circa 1955.

Marilyn Monroe had a small part in The Asphalt Jungle (1950) which is a very good movie and garnered a great deal of praise at the time and is held in high esteem today but that picture really belongs to Sterling Hayden and Louis Calhern. She had another small part in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve (1950). That film won the Academy Award for Best Picture but that’s a Bette Davis picture. Monroe had yet another small part in Monkey Business (1952) but the stars of that film were Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers. All the small parts paid off because in 1953 Marilyn Monroe became a star. That year three of her most memorable films were released.

The three films are: Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire. She followed up those films with Bus Stop and The Seven Year Itch (both 1956) and at the end of the decade she co-starred alongside Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot (1959). Her last film was The Misfits (1961) opposite Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift. She died from an overdose of barbiturates the following year.

Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926 and died on August 4, 1962. She was 36 years old. The founder and publisher of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner, has the crypt directly to the left of Monroe’s crypt.

Most of the images are postcards from the 1930s and 1940s. The images of Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood are from Wikimedia commons. The images of Eddie Albert, Brian Keith, Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder are publicity photos. I bought the picture of Walter Matthau off E-bay. It was one photo in a set of four (I purchased all four) from an estate sale. The estate belonged to a woman who had gone to a luncheon where Matthau spoke. The image of Zanuck is part of a trade paper advertisement that I also bought off E-bay. 

Sources

Brackett, C., Slide, A. (Ed.). (2014). It’s the Pictures that Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age. New York: Columbia University Press.

Lemmon, C. (2006). A Twist of Lemmon: A Tribute to My Father. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Quinlan, D. (1996). Quinlan’s Film Stars. Washington, D.C. : Brassey’s.

Quinlan, D. (1997). The Film Lover’s Companion: An A to Z Guide to 2,000 Stars and the Movies they Made. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Pub. Group. 

Wlaschin, K. (1979). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World’s Great Movie Starts and their Films: from 1900 to the Present Day. New York: Harmony Books.

The pandemic closed practically everything in Los Angeles but it didn’t close cemeteries. There will be a Rest in Peace 5!

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Rest In Peace 3

Hillside Memorial Park is located on the west side of Los Angeles near the 405 Freeway.

It’s located at 6001 W. Centinela Avenue in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1941. Some of the stars buried at Hillside are below.

Shelley Winters circa 1950.

Shelley Winters was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1920. She achieved her first notable success starring opposite Ronald Coleman in his Oscar winning performance in the film A Double Life (1947). She was a glamour girl in the early days of her career but wisely discarded that persona and took up meatier parts instead. Her other notable film roles include The Great Gatsby (1949), A Place in the Sun (1951), The Night of the Hunter (1955), The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), Lolita (1962), A Patch of Blue (1965), Alfie (1966) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). She died from heart failure in 2006. She was 86 years old.

It looks like someone has been polishing her marker. They need to use more elbow grease.

Arthur Freed circa 1960.

Arthur Freed was born in South Carolina in 1894. At the beginning of his career he was a songwriter. Two of his most famous songs, done in collaboration with Nacio Herb Brown, are “Singin’ in the Rain” and “You Are My Lucky Star.” The latter was used extensively in The Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) and in the final action sequence of Alien (1979).

Freed graduated from songwriter to MGM movie producer in 1939 when he produced the Mickey Rooney – Judy Garland film, Babes in Arms (1939). After that he was unstoppable. He produced: Strike up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), For Me and My Gal (1942), Cabin in the Sky (1943), Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), Girl Crazy (1943), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Good News (1947), Easter Parade (1948), Words and Music (1948), The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), On the Town (1949), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Royal Wedding (1951), Show Boat (1951), An American in Paris (1951), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Band Wagon (1953), Brigadoon (1954), Kismet (1955), Silk Stockings (1957) and Gigi (1958). From 1963 to 1967 he served as president of the motion picture academy. He died from a heart attack in 1973. He was 78 years old. 

Freed’s wife is buried next to him. 

Many stars are buried in the mausoleum.

It has a wonderful art modern look to it.

I like the drapery handles.

This plaque is next to the front doors. No mention of an architect!

From the inside looking out.

Jack Benny circa 1935.

Jack Benny was from the Windy City (Chicago) and born in 1894. Benny made the occasional movie in the 1930s and 1940s including The Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935). Even though this was his first film Benny received top billing over Eleanor Powell and Robert Taylor. He continued to make films including: Man About Town (1939), Charley’s Aunt (1941), To Be or Not to Be (1942), The Meanest Man in the World (1943) and It’s in the Bag (1945). In reality, the movies were a side gig for Benny because he was well-known throughout America before he made his first film. His fame came from his radio show, The Jack Benny Program, which ran from 1932-1955. The radio show was the basis for his television program which was also known as The Jack Benny Program and it aired from 1950-1965. After his television show was cancelled he toured the country as a stand-up comedian.

In the book “Benny” a receptionist recounted an incident in which Benny arrived for his doctor’s appointment, saw the doctor, said “bye” to the staff and left, but then he returned with a cake and sat with the office staff eating cake and visiting with them for a good part of the afternoon. According to that same book, it was not unusual for Benny to buy fifty postcards, when he was out of town, and spend the time between shows writing to friends. There were numerous stories like that in the book. He died in December 1974 from pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.

He’s buried with his wife Mary Livingston. Over two thousand people attended Jack Benny’s funeral including: Gregory Peck, Walter Mattheau, Jimmy Stewart, Edgar Bergen, Raymond Massey, Ronald & Nancy Reagan, Ceasar Romero, Rosalind Russell, George Murphy, Dennis Day, Mel Blanc, Eddie Rochester Anderson, Groucho Marx, Jack Lemmon, Milton Berle, Jack Carter, Morey Amsterdam, George Burns and Danny Thomas. Bob Hope gave the eulogy. That’s quite a send off.

Jeff Chandler circa 1955.

Jeff Chandler was born in Brooklyn in 1918. His first notable role was in Broken Arrow (1950) which resulted in an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. He had another big hit opposite Joan Crawford in Female on the Beach (1955). His final film was Return to Peyton Place (1962). In 1961 he went into the hospital for spinal cord surgery which resulted in complications. He died from a blood infection and pneumonia. His family sued for wrongful death and malpractice. His estate was awarded $233,358. He was only 43 years old.

Tony Curtis was one of the pallbearers at his funeral. Some of the stars who attended his funeral were Shelley Winters, Edward G. Robinson, Janet Leigh, Kim Novak, Mickey Rooney and Sammy Davis, Jr. He’s high up on the wall but he’s obviously not forgotten. 

Eddie Cantor circa 1920.

There are many wacky images of Eddie Cantor but I like this photo of him because he looks relaxed which is quite different from the persona he exudes in his movies.

Eddie Cantor was born in New York City in 1892. He made his Broadway debut in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1917 and appeared in a number of Ziegfeld Follies productions over the next ten years — often in blackface. He was well known by the late 1920s and was offered the Al Jolson role in The Jazz Singer but turned it down. Still, he wanted to make movies so he went to Hollywood and starred in a series of motion pictures including: Kid Boots (1926), Whoopee! (1930), The Kid from Spain (1932), Roman Scandals (1933) and Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937). Cantor had two radio shows in the 1940s: Time to Smile and another sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon. In the 1950s he was one of the hosts of a comedy hour sponsored by Colgate — the toothpaste manufacturer. Eddie Cantor died in 1964 from a heart attack. He was 72 years old.  

Eddie Cantor wrote many books. Four are Caught Short!, My Life is in Your Hands, Take My Life and Between the Acts. Between the Acts, which is a small book 4 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches, is autobiographical and dedicated to Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Clara Bow and Maurice Chevalier. There is one picture in the entire book. It’s on the title page and it’s Eddie Cantor in blackface. He obviously sold himself as someone who performed in minstrel shows. I didn’t realize this until I started to look into his life. 

Dinah Shore circa 1940.

Dinah Shore was born in Winchester, Tennessee in 1916. She went to New York City in the late 1930s and found a job working at a NBC radio station where she drew the attention of Eddie Cantor. Cantor put her on his radio show and the radio show was a springboard for the movies. Some of her films include: Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943), Follow the Boys (1944), Up in Arms (1944), Belle of the Yukon (1944) and Till the Clouds Roll By (1946). She was fine in the movies but that wasn’t her future. She was a singer not an actress. In the 1950s she had a television show sponsored by Chevrolet and her theme song for that show, “See the USA in a Chevrolet” is still quite memorable and singable.

She was married to actor George Montgomery (Roxie Hart) from 1943-1963. Their marriage had A Star is Born element to it because as his career went down — hers went up. Her success and his failures were two of the reasons for their divorce. According to the book Dinah! one of the other reasons was: George would talk about anything except their marital problems. Shore had a talk show in the 1970s called Dinah! She died from ovarian cancer complications in 1994. She was 78 years old.

She’s on one of the walls at the rear of the mausoleum.

From the credits of Singin’ in the Rain.

Cyd Charisse was born in Amarillo, Texas in 1922. She found herself in Los Angeles during the second World War and in the mid-1940s her efforts to work in the film industry paid off when she landed a role in Ziegfeld Follies (1946). She followed that up with a small part in The Harvey Girls (1946) and more work in Till the Clouds Roll By (also 1946). She went on to appear in Words and Music (1948), East Side/West Side (1949), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Band Wagon (1953), Brigadoon (1954), It’s Always Fair Weather (1956), Silk Stockings (1957) and Two Weeks in Another Town (1962).

Charisse and her husband, Tony Martin, wrote a book with Dick Kleiner titled The Two of Us. It was about their lives. She said the following regarding the “Broadway Melody” number in Singin’ in the Rain: “I didn’t really have much to do with Gene during that picture. We did the one number together, that’s all. During the rest of it, he was busy with his own numbers and with the other dancers in the company. I did have to learn to smoke a cigarette in our number, however. He wanted me to have a long cigarette holder and, as the camera panned up my legs and my body, I was supposed to exhale a drifting plume of smoke. I had never smoked and it took me a long time, plus a lot of coughing, before I got it right.”

She died in 2008 from a heart attack. She was 86 years old and is buried next to her husband.

She’s in the Court of the Matriarchs with her husband, singer Tony Martin.

Al Jolson circa 1925.

Al Jolson was born in Lithuania in 1886 and came to America in 1894 with his mother and three siblings. He began working on Broadway in 1902 and started working in blackface around 1910. For the next fifteen years he starred in a series of Broadway musicals — in blackface. According to the book “Jolson: The Story of Al Jolson,” in 1924, Jolson was enlisted by Calvin Coolidge to help kick off Coolidge’s race for the White House. Why? Because Jolson was adored by the American public and Coolidge’s re-election team thought Jolson’s support could swing votes their way. That’s how big Jolson was.

Regarding The Jazz Singer (1927), George Jessel had played the part on Broadway, for over three years, but when Jessel asked for $100,000 to star in the motion picture Warner Bros. looked elsewhere. Warners’ second choice was Eddie Cantor but he declined the offer so Jolson was given the role because he was willing to invest his own money in the picture and take some of the profits — if there were any. The Jazz Singer was a hit which led to more Jolson films including The Singing Fool (1928), Say it with Songs (1929), Mammy (1930), Wonder Bar (1934), Go into Your Dance (1935) and The Singing Kid (1936). Eddie Cantor, in his book “Take My Life,” said of Jolson, “He sang and he talked; but he was more than just a singer or an actor — he was an experience.” Jolson was married to Ruby Keeler from 1928-1940. He died from a heart attack in 1950. He was 64 years old. 

Al Jolson’s gravesite is so over the top it’s in a different dimension. The whole thing was designed by the great Los Angeles architect Paul Revere Williams.

This is another view of the gravesite from the steps of the mausoleum. Jack Benny, George Burns, George Jessel and Eddie Cantor were four of the pallbearers at Jolson’s funeral. Larry Parks, Harry Cohn and Louis B. Mayer attended the service.

His headstone is beautiful; it contains classical elements including fluted columns, ornamental scroll work and a finial.

The Sweet Singer of Israel. Isn’t that Moses?

Jolson’s estate was valued at $3,236,000. ($35,715,842 in 2021 dollars) This statue is next to the tomb. The sculptor was C. Romanelli, Jr. I was just relieved he wasn’t in blackface. 

Woodlawn Cemetery is located at 1847 14th Street in Santa Monica, California. The city purchased the cemetery from the original owners in 1897. 

The mausoleum is in the Spanish Colonial Style and was erected in 1922. I suspect an earthquake is responsible for the missing urn.

The images upon the walls were painted by Hugo Ballin. He did the murals for Griffith Observatory. He’s buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Paul Henreid circa 1945.

Paul Henreid made two films that are in the pantheon of Hollywood filmmaking. Opposite Bette Davis he starred in Now, Voyager (1942). He was also in the star filled Casablanca (1943). Henreid was blacklisted in the early 1950s and turned to directing in the latter half of that decade. I’ve seen numerous Alfred Hitchcock Presents directed by him. In 1992 he died from a pneumonia after suffering a stroke. He was 84 years old.

Henreid married Lisl in 1936. 

There are numerous stained glass windows in the mausoleum but they’re not religious.

William Haines circa 1930.

William Haines was born on January 2, 1900 in Virginia. He ended up in Hollywood in 1922 and had an early success with The Midnight Express (1924) then supported Mary Pickford in Little Annie Rooney (1925). He became a first tier star with Brown of Harvard (1926). He went on to star in Tell it to the Marines (1926), West Point, The Smart Set and Show People (all 1928), The Duke Steps Out, A Man’s Man and Navy Blues (all 1929) and Free and Easy and Way Out West (both 1930). According to Quigley he was the number eight box office star in 1928 and the number three box office star in 1929 and 1930.

Haines’ film career came to an end in the 1930s because he was gay and was living openly with Jimmy Shields. (They would live together until Haines’ death.) After his film career, Haines went on to become the proprietor of a successful decorating business that served the Hollywood community and other notables for decades. Haines died of lung cancer at the age of 73 in December 1973. Jimmy Shields committed suicide three months later. According to the book “Wisecracker,” Shields left a suicide note detailing his unhappiness after Haines’ death and then took an overdose of barbiturates. They’re buried next to each other.

Lillion H. Stone is Haines’ sister.

Charles Bickford circa 1920.

Charles Bickford was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1891. His college plans were derailed by the acting bug which landed him on Broadway by 1925. He was in Hollywood by the late 1920s and had an early success opposite Greta Garbo in Anna Christie (1930). In his book Bulls, Balls, Bicycles & Actors Bickford said, “I was not a Garbo fan, but she was a big star and the idea of being teamed with her was certainly to my advantage as a newcomer.”

Yet, by 1935 his career was almost over. While filming East of Java he stepped in and performed a stunt with a lion. The lion reacted badly to Bickford’s presence. It attacked him, picked him up by the neck and mauled him. He was lucky to have survived. After he was released from the hospital and according to Bickford’s book, Darryl F. Zanuck said at their first meeting concerning Bickford’s future employment, “Of course you’re all washed up. You know that? With that mangled neck. You’re through as a leading man.” Bickford had a big ego and didn’t want to accept Zanuck’s decree but after a solitary trip to the Grand Canyon Bickford came to the realization he could no longer play romantic leads and decided to go after character parts as a way to keep working.

It was a wise decision because he was able to find almost continuous employment for the rest of his life. Some of his notable films are: Little Miss Marker (1934), The Plainsman (1936), Of Mice and Men (1939), Reap the Wild Wind (1942), Mr. Lucky (1943), The Song of Bernadette (1943), Duel in the Sun (1946), The Farmer’s Daughter (1947), Brute Force (1947), Johnny Belinda (1948), Whirlpool (1949), A Star is Born (1954), The Big Country (1958) and The Days of Wine and Roses (1962). He died in 1967 from a combination of a blood infection and pneumonia. He was 76 years old.  

REST IN PEACE

Bickford was buried in a community plot and his grave is not marked. This momentarily surprised me but after thinking about it — it didn’t.

William Lundigan, who is in a film I like called The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), is buried at Holy Cross cemetery, alongside his parents, but there is no marker or headstone for him. There are headstones for his parents but not for him.

According to the Hollywood Forever book regarding the Hollywood Forever cemetery published by the Hollywood Forever cemetery, when Ann Sheridan died she was cremated but her ashes were never picked up. Hollywood Forever eventually paid the costs of her cremation and picked up her unclaimed ashes. They then installed Sheridan in their Chapel Columbarium at Hollywood Forever. [Sheridan remained unclaimed from 1967-2005!] Sheridan, known as “the oomph girl,” was in Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), They Drive by Night (1940), King’s Row (1942) and The Opposite Sex (1956).

Death often happens unexpectedly and if there is no one, with money, to deal with the costs of death even a star’s remains can end up unclaimed or in an unmarked grave.

Glenn Ford circa 1955.

Glenn Ford starred in a number of good movies and had a career that spanned over five decades. He was born in Canada in 1916 and with his family moved to Los Angeles in 1922. 

He made a number of films for various studios from 1939 to 1942 but none were of major importance. He signed up for the Marines in December 1942 but first married film star Eleanor Powell whom he had met on a cross country bond tour. It seems surprising today, but Eleanor Powell retired from the screen when she married Ford because she wanted to be a wife and a mother. What was wrong with her? [They divorced in 1959.]

When Ford returned from the war he had a big hit in 1946 with Gilda and was a major star from that point to his retirement in 1991. He also starred in: A Stolen Life (1946), The Big Heat (1953), Human Desire (1954), The Blackboard Jungle (1955), Interrupted Melody (1955), Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), 3:10 to Yuma (1957), Cimarron (1960), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963) and Superman (1978).

According to Quigley, Ford was the #5 box office star in 1956, the #1 box office star in 1958 and the #6 box office star in 1959.

Ford’s son, Peter, wrote a good book. It’s called Glenn Ford: A Life. The details regarding the last twenty years of Ford’s life are not easy to read. He had an fortune in excess of $14 million dollars above and beyond his house. At this point, Ford was older. He had a drinking problem and he was foolish. It was in this phase of his life that a number of grifters took advantage of him and fleeced him. (He was engaged to a number of “nurses” but never married them and he had a wife who was happy to be married to him during the good times but when Ford had health problems she no longer wanted to spend time with him and instead spent her time and his money on her boyfriends.) By the time of his death he still had the house but his fortune was gone. Ford died in 2006.

Ford is buried on the ground floor but it’s really the basement. Ford selected the space himself. He didn’t want to be buried in the ground. Mickey Rooney and Debbie Reynolds attended his funeral.

This is the best statue I’ve ever seen in a mausoleum. She’s holding an hour glass. It’s the perfect location for this statue and I find it somewhat spooky at the same time.

There could possibly be a Rest In Peace 4.

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SOURCES

Benny, M. L. , Marks, H. & Borie, Marcia. (1978). Jack Benny. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 

Bickford, C. (1965). Bulls, Balls, Bicycles & Actors. New York: P.S. Eriksson.

Cantor, E. (1930). Between the Acts. New York: Simon and Shuster.

Cantor, E. & Ardmore, J. K. (1957). Take My Life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 

Cassidy, B. (1979). Dinah! New York: Franklin Watts.

Ford, P. (2011). Glenn Ford: A Life.  :University of Wisconsin Press.

Fordin, H. (1996). MGM’s Greatest Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit. New York: De Capo Press. 

Freeland, M. (2007). Jolson: The Story of Al Jolson. Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell.

Hollywood Forever, Cemetery — Funeral Home — Library of Lives. The Official Directory. (No date). Los Angeles: Hollywood Forever Cemetery. 

Mann, W. J. (1998). Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood’s First Openly Gay Star. New York: Penguin Books.

Martin, T., Charisse, C. & Kleiner, D.  (1976). The Two of Us. New York: Mason/Charter.

Wells, J. (2005). Jeff Chandler. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. 

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Most of the images are postcards from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The picture of Arthur Freed I bought off Ebay. The images of Cyd Charisse, Glenn Ford and Eddie Cantor are from Wikimedia Commons.

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My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Rest In Peace 2

Holy Cross Cemetery is located on Slausson Boulevard in Culver City, California. When it opened on May 30, 1939 only flat markers were allowed so originally vaults and monuments were not part of the landscape scheme.

Many stars are near the grotto which is directly to the left upon entering the cemetery and then up a steep hill.

There is a pond in front of the grotto where turtles swim in the water and sun themselves on rocks. The pond is in the lower left corner in this photo.

Bing Crosby’s most famous movie is probably Going My Way (1944). He was also in The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), The Country Girl (1954) and High Society (1956). He was the number one box office star in 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947 and 1948. He also did seven “Road” movies with Bob Hope.

Both of his names are on his marker. Many of his family members surround him.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula.

Bela Lugosi never escaped being typecast as Dracula but most actors never become as famous he did as a result of a single role. He also starred in Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), White Zombie (1932), The Black Cat (1934), The Raven (1935), Son of Frankenstein (1935) and Ninotchka (1939). He died of a heart attack at age 73 and was buried in one of his black capes.

He’s the only Lugosi there.

Rita Hayworth was in a number of successful films in the 1940s. She co-starred with Fred Astaire in Cover Girl (1944) and was in Gilda (1946) with Glen Ford.  She also starred in Orson Wells’ The Lady from Shanghai (1947). In the 1950s she starred in Pal Joey (1957) and Separate Tables (1958). She had problems at the end of her life due to Alzheimer’s, which is sad, but thankfully that’s all in the past now.

Charles Boyer co-starred opposite Hedy Lamar in Algiers (1938). The following year he starred opposite Irene Dunne in Love Affair (1939). He followed that up with All This and Heaven Too (1940) opposite Bette Davis. He then starred in Back Street (1941). He is probably best remembered for Gaslight (1944). His co-stars in that film were Ingrid Bergman and Angela Lansbury. He worked throughout the 1950s and 1960s though he wasn’t a big box office draw like he was in the late 1930s and 1940s. He died from an overdose of Seconal two days after the death of his wife in 1978.

Zasu Pitts had a long career in Hollywood that included many films with Thelma Todd. Zasu was also in The Wedding March (1928), Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), Life with Father (1947) and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). She is probably best remembered for starring in Erich Von Stroheim’s mutilated masterpiece Greed (1924). Her second and final husband was John Edward Woodhall whom she married in 1933. Her death was due to cancer.

Jimmie Durante was a Hollywood fixture from the 1930s until his death. (Well, almost.) He was a comedian who made three movies individuals interested in classic Hollywood filmmaking might know: The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962) opposite Doris Day and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). He also narrated television’s Frosty the Snowman (1969). He died from a pneumonia but had retired eight years prior to his death due to a stroke that left him in a wheelchair.

Jack Haley circa 1940.

Jack Haley was the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939). He would never have a more memorable role but he made four other movies of note and one was Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938). His co-stars in that film were Alice Faye, Tyrone Power and Don Ameche. His co-stars in Moon Over Miami (1941) were Betty Grable and Don Ameche. He also made a film with an interesting title. That film is called F-Man (1935). His final film was New York, New York (1977). He died from a heart attack which is ironic.

Mary Astor was in Dodsworth (1936), The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Great Lie (1941), The Palm Beach Story (1942), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964). She’s also in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents that I like called The Impossible Dream (1955) with Franchot Tone. In The Impossible Dream she’s a blackmailer who drinks too much for her own good. Mary Astor had emphysema at the end of her life and died from respiratory failure.

Her marker was filthy so I cleaned it off with some bottled water and a paper towel. I don’t think anyone had been to see her in a very long time.

Mack Sennett was the founder of Keystone Studios in 1912 and was the man behind the Keystone Cops. His studio, which still stands, is a few blocks away from where the 2 freeway ends and transitions into Alvarado Boulevard. The movie business is very unpredictable and Sennett went bankrupt in 1933.

Sennett never married. There was a Broadway musical based on his relationship with Mable Normand called Mack and Mable. For some reason I wish he was buried near Mable Normand but she’s on the other side of Los Angeles county.

Rosalind Russell was in the cast of The Women (1939) and starred in His Girl Friday (1940), My Sister Eileen (1942), Auntie Mame (1958) and Gypsy (1962). She married producer Frederick Brisson in 1941 and remained married to him until her death in 1976. Cary Grant was the best man at their wedding.

Rosalind Russell is at the base of this cross. She’s buried next to her husband.

This nameplate is attached to one of the steps at the base of the cross.

Jackie Coogan‘s big break came in the 1920s when he was selected by Charlie Chaplin to be his co-star in The Kid (1921). He never had another hit as big as The Kid but he married Betty Grable in 1937 which had to have been a high point in his life and was Uncle Festus on television’s Adam’s Family in the 1960s. He is also responsible for the Coogan law which required parents to put their children’s earnings into a trust account. Coogan earned millions as a child star but had to take his mother and step-father to court to get any of the money he earned as a child star. His mother and step-father used the money as if it was theirs.

Loretta Young started in motion pictures in the 1920s and had success in some 1930s films but her greatest films are from the late 1940s: The Stranger (1946), The Farmer’s Daughter (1947), for which she won the Academy Award for best actress, The Bishop’s Wife (1947) and Come to the Stable (1949). She worked in television in the 1950s and had a very successful anthology show on NBC.

She’s buried next to her mother. After going to numerous cemeteries over the years I’ve come to the realization that many actresses end up being buried next to their mothers.

Edmond O’Brien circa 1950.

Edmond O’Brien starred in one film I really enjoy called D.O.A. (1949). It’s about a man who’s determined to find out who murdered him. He’s also in White Heat (1949), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), for which he won an Academy Award for best supporting actor, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and Seven Days in May (1964). At the end of his life he was institutionalized due to Alzheimer’s. He was 69 when he died.

Ann Miller!

Ann Miller‘s first big break was in You Can’t Take it With You (1938) but the reason I like her is because of her dance number “Shaking the Blues Away” in Easter Parade (1948). She went onto star in On the Town (1949), Lovely to Look At (1952), Kiss Me Kate (1953) and The Opposite Sex (1956). Her last film appearance was in Mulholland Drive (2001). She also starred on Broadway in Sugar Babies (1979) with Mickey Rooney and was in a revival of Follies (1998) where she sang, “I’m Still Here.” She died from lung cancer.

I watched a A&E documentary about Ann Miller on YouTube. In the documentary she states when she was pregnant in 1946 she got into an argument with her then husband, Reese Llewellyn Milner, that turned physical. Her husband, in a fit of rage, pushed her down a flight of stairs and as a result she lost her baby. That baby daughter is buried next to her.

This is Holy Cross’ mausoleum. It looks like it was built in the 1940s.

Fred MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois in 1908 and moved to California in the early 1930s.

He made numerous films including Alice Adams (1935), Remember the Night (1940), Double Indemnity (1944), The Egg and I (1947), Father was a Fullback (1949), The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Shaggy Dog (1959), The Apartment (1960), The Absent Minded Professor (1961) and Son of Flubber (1963).  He was also the star of a long running television series, My Three Sons, which ran from 1960-1972.

At the end of his life he had throat cancer and leukemia. (He also had a stroke three years prior to his death in 1991. He was a smoker.) The actual cause of his death was pneumonia. He married June Haver in 1954 and they remained together until his death.

The red upon the marble is caused by the stain glass window beside MacMurray’s crypt.

This is the window that cast the red shadow.

Ray Bolger played the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Before that he was a vaudeville star and a big enough star that he played himself in The Great Ziegfeld (1936). He had a major role in The Harvey Girls (1946) and he’s in that film’s big production number, “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.” He was also in the 1961 remake of Babes in Toyland. He only made nineteen films in his entire career. His crypt is very close to the floor and there were no lights on in the sanctuary area of the mausoleum. The only light came from the front doors and some clerestory windows from above.

This is the mural behind the altar in the mausoleum. It looks very 70s. The white object in front of the mural is a pedestal for a chair.

Evelyn Nesbit.

She’s a long way from Madison Square Garden.

I wouldn’t have expected to find her here. Evelyn Nesbit was not a film star but she was a star in her day. She was “the girl in the red velvet swing” and the reason the great architect Stanford White was murdered. There was a movie made about her life called The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955) starring Joan Collins and Ray Milland. She was a consultant on that film.

Stanford White by George Cox circa 1892.

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There’s a cemetery, out in the middle of nowhere, where two RKO STARS are buried. They must have made an agreement to be buried there. They’re reasonably close to each other. I went on a Sunday — late in the afternoon. There were many Latino families visiting their deceased family members that day.

It’s way out in Chatsworth. Thirty-five miles from where I live.

Ginger Rogers was born in Independence, Missouri in 1911. Before she made her well-known successful films with Fred Astaire at RKO she made two big films at Warner Bros which were: 42nd Street (1933) and Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933). At RKO she made The Gay Divorcee (1934), Top Hat (1935), Swing Time (1936), Stage Door (1937) and Bachelor Mother (1939). She won an Academy Award for Kitty Foyle (1940) and also starred in the Primrose Path (1940). For other studios she made Roxie Hart (1942), The Major and the Minor (1942), Lady in the Dark (1944) and Weekend at the Waldorf (1945).

She followed those up in the 1950s with Monkey Business (1952) with Cary Grant, Dreamboat (1952) opposite Clifton Webb and Tight Spot (1955) co-starring Edward G. Robinson.

She was married to Lew Ayres in the 1930s and to Jacques Bergerac (!) in the 1950s.

She played Dolly Levi in a 1965 production of Hello Dolly on Broadway and played Mame in London in 1969. She died from natural causes in 1985 and is buried next to her mother.

She’s here with her mother. Side by side, for eternity.

Fred Astaire seems so modern and yet he was born in 1899. Astaire was on Broadway and dancing with his sister, Adele, before he went into the movies. Once he arrived in Hollywood, in the early 1930s, he had a string of hits including:

Flying Down to Rio (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934), Roberta (1935), Top Hat (1935), Swing Time (1936), Holiday Inn (1942), Ziegfeld Follies (1945), Easter Parade (1948), Royal Wedding (1951), The Band Wagon (1953), Funny Face (1957), On the Beach (1959) and The Towering Inferno (1974).

My two favorite Fred Astaire numbers are “Girl Hunt” with Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon and “Clap Yo Hands” with Kay Thompson in Funny Face. His death was the result of a pneumonia in 1987.

Fred’s here with his family. Adele is nearby.

No other stars are buried at Oakwood Memorial Park.

There’s a pretty little chapel on the grounds. It’s called the Chapel of the Oaks.

It wasn’t open the day I went but one day I hope to go back and see the inside.

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Most of the images are postcards from the 1930s and 1940s. The Ann Miller postcard is from the Ann Miller fan club. The images of Bela Lugosi, Mack Sennett, Evelyn Nesbit and Stanford White are from Wikimedia Commons.

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My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

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There just might be a Rest in Peace 3.

Rest In Peace

I enjoy visiting cemeteries and finding the final resting places of notable Californians. Because Los Angeles is the home of the motion picture industry many film stars are buried here. Here is a tiny fraction of the illustrious deceased from Calvary Cemetery and Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

This is the main mausoleum at Calvary Cemetery which is located on Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles. The architect of the building is Ross Montgomery.

The plaque outside the front door.

You enter the building and walk up two flights of steps. At the top of the steps is this space.

The handrails have these cool ram’s heads on the ends.

Mable Normand from 1920’s “Who’s Who on the Screen.” The text supplies fundamental information regarding Mabel and how she was viewed at the time. It doesn’t mention that in 1922 she was involved in the William Desmond Taylor murder case or that she died from tuberculosis in 1930.

Mabel is pretty close to the main altar. She must have paid a premium price for this location. Her husband was actor Lew Cody.

Pola Negri looks AMAZING in this image. The hair. The eyes. The lips. The jewelry. The dress. Fab-u-lous!

Pola Negri was a Paramount star and a screen rival to star and fashionista — Gloria Swanson. Pola Negri is in the St. Paul section which is a niche off one of the main aisles on the other side of (behind) the altar. Someone seems to have gone berserk with the lipstick kisses. Some fans can’t control themselves.

John Hodiak was in two really wonderful movies: Lifeboat (1944) and The Harvey Girls (1946). For all you Maisie fans he was also in Maisie Goes to Reno (1944).

John Hodiak’s crypt is next to Mable Normand’s.

I like Irene Dunne in Theodora Goes Wild (1936), The Awful Truth (1937) and I Remember Momma (1948).

She’s very close to the sanctuary’s altar. Her husband was Francis Griffin, a dentist, who eventually became her business manager. 

The walls of the mausoleum are festooned with these medallions which depict various saints.

Lionel Barrymore is probably the least well known of the Barrymores but he won an Oscar for A Free Soul (1930-31). He is probably best remembered as Mr. Potter in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. From “Who’s Who on the Screen.”

Lionel’s crypt lacks birth and death dates but the key to his identity is his location. His crypt is directly above his brother’s.

John Barrymore starred opposite Mary Astor in Don Juan (1926) and opposite Carole Lombard in Twentieth Century (1934). From “Who’s Who on the Screen.”

The lipstick kisser struck again.

Before we leave the building there’s a stained glass window I like. It’s called The Resurrection of Lazarus. 

There are many stained glass windows in the mausoleum but this is the window I like because Lazarus is dressed like The Mummy.

Cedric Gibbons. A new book about MGM (and him) recently came out. It’s called “MGM Style: Cedric Gibbons and the Art of the Golden Age of Hollywood.”

Cedric Gibbons’ marker is outside near an intersection. He should have designed his own headstone in an elaborate art deco style. A missed opportunity for him? Maybe, his death came suddenly? Maybe, he didn’t have a big ego?

Cedric Gibbons’ marker is three plots away from this Station of the Cross. 

Ramon Novarro on a postcard. His biggest hit was Ben-Hur (1925). His co-star in that film was the dashing Francis X. Bushman.

Ramon is way out in section C. His family members are aligned to the left of him. It’s all nice and good but he should have commissioned a life size marble statue of himself in his Ben-Hur costume for his headstone. It would have made it easier for his fans to find his grave. It took me about an hour to find it and I had been there before.

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

According to the Hollywood Forever directory, this administration building was designed by the architectural firm of Morgan, Walls & Clements and opened on December 4, 1931.

This is attached to the building near the entrance.

The building from across the street.

I can’t decide if this is in the Churrigueresque style or simply architectural detailing. Regardless, it’s very ornate.

This wishing well is right inside the entrance.

Tyrone Power in the 1940s. I like him in The Razor’s Edge (1946) and Nightmare Alley (1947). He died in 1958 from a heart attack. He was only 44.

Every time I’ve visited his gravesite it has been adorned with flowers.

Mickey Rooney is great in Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962). His co-stars in that film are Jackie Gleason, Jack Palance and Julie Harris. He did some musicals with Judy Garland too that are fun: Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941) and Girl Crazy (1943). Mickey can dance, too! He was the number 1 box office star in 1939, 1940 and 1941.

Mickey is a recent addition to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. His body was in limbo for a time after his death. He’s on the outer wall of the mausoleum.

Marion Davies was already a star in 1920 when this entry for her was included in “Who’s Who on the Screen.”

Douras is the family name of Marion Davies. She was born Marion Cecilia Elizabeth Brooklyn Douras. She’s interred here, in this huge tomb, with her family. The tomb’s next to the lake.

This is the oldest mausoleum at Hollywood Forever. The architectural firm responsible for the building was Marston & Van Pelt. It was completed in 1919. Notice how the front of the building has been recently “built out” to provide more space for crypts.

These bronze doors are beautiful.

The mausoleum is in good shape considering it was built over a hundred years ago.

Rudolph Valentino‘s big break came with The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) and his stardom was sealed with The Shiek (1921). He died on August 23, 1926 from a ruptured ulcer. He was 31.

Rudolph Valentino inside the mausoleum. According to folklore, for years, a woman in black would visit his grave on the anniversary of his death. 

Peter Lorre is very entertaining in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Casablanca (1943).

He’s interred here with his wife. A plaque for her is beneath his. 

Like many people who have worked in the film business — he changed his name. He went from William C. Deane-Tanner to William Desmond Taylor. From “Who’s Who on the Screen.”

In death he retreated back to his real name. This director and ladies man would probably be forgotten if it wasn’t for the numerous books written about his murder. The murder took place in his bungalow apartment two blocks north of the Westlake Theater in East Hollywood.

Eleanor Powell was born in 1912. She was dancing on Broadway in the late 1920s and early 1930s before arriving in Hollywood in 1935. MGM signed her because she was acknowledged as one of the world’s top tap dancers and she made her first movie rather quickly. It was The Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) with Jack Benny and Robert Taylor. She followed that up with Born to Dance (1936) with Una Merkel and Buddy Ebsen. Two years later she starred in The Broadway Melody of 1938 (1938) in which she danced with George Murphy. Judy Garland and Sophie Tucker were two of her co-stars in that film. In The Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940) she danced with Fred Astaire.

She made a few more movies: Lady Be Good (1941), Ship Ahoy (1942), Thousands Cheer (1943) and I Dood It (1943) before she retired to marry Glenn Ford.

She’s in the mausoleum with her family. Eleanor Powell was born on November 21, 1912 and died February 11, 1982 from ovarian cancer. She was 69 years old.  

Harry Cohn was the head of Columbia Pictures. I almost didn’t include him in this post because everything I’ve read about him is pretty horrific but Columbia Pictures gave the world: Claudette Colbert and Clark Cable in It Happened One Night (1934), Ronald Coleman in Lost Horizon (1937), Jean Arthur in You Can’t Take it With You (1938), Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford in Gilda (1946). 

Harry Cohn is buried alongside his wife and daughter.

Here is Harry’s tomb. He was not well liked yet there was a HUGE turnout for his funeral. One funeral goer remarked, “If you give the public what they want they’ll come out for it.” This quote has been attributed to Georgie Jessel, Red Skelton and the writer James Bacon.

Jayne Mansfield starred in one extremely funny movie, The Girl Can’t Help It (1956). She was also in Will Success Spoil Ross Hunter? She died in an automobile accident in 1967.

Jayne Mansfield is buried in Pennsylvania, next to her father, but she has this marker at Hollywood Forever.

Not only did Janet Gaynor star as the first Vicki Lester in the original A Star is Born (1937) but she also won the first Academy Award for best actress for three 1927 films: Seventh Heaven, Sunrise and Street Angel.

Her marker needs to be cleaned off. I had to use a paper towel to wipe away all the detritus. I walked around the evergreen trees that overlook her grave repeatedly and couldn’t find her or her husband’s marker. [Her husband was Adrian — the fashion designer.] It was because they were completely covered with needles and brush. Note: After Adrian died in 1959 Gaynor married Paul Gregory in 1964.

Cecil B. DeMille filmed the first feature length motion picture filmed in Hollywood. It was The Squaw Man (1914). The barn where that movie was filmed still stands and is situated across the street from The Hollywood Bowl. 

It looks like Cecil B. DeMille and Harry Cohn purchased the same tomb package.

Cecil B. DeMille would eventually direct King of Kings (1927), Cleopatra (1934), Union Pacific (1939), Samson and Delilah (1949), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) and The Ten Commandments (1956). He also appeared in my favorite film of all time, Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Judy Garland made some of my favorite movies including: The Wizard of Oz (1939), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), Easter Parade (1948), In the Good Old Summertime (1949) and the second version of A Star is Born (1954).

I didn’t know she was here until I found her in the Hollywood Forever directory.

Clifton Webb lived with his mother until she died in 1960. He was a good son and a perennial bachelor. He died six years later, at 76, from a heart attack. He made some wonderful movies: Laura (1944), The Razor’s Edge (1946), The Dark Corner (1946), Sitting Pretty (1948), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), Three Coins in a Fountain (1954) and Titanic (1953).

The marble isn’t pink but the lighting in this corridor has a pinkish tint.

Adolph Menjou starred in a string of classic movies including: The Shiek (1921), Morocco (1930), The Front Page (1931), Morning Glory (1933), Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935), A Star is Born (1937), Stage Door (1937) and Paths of Glory (1957). 

Adolphe Menjou’s grave faces the lake.

Fay Wray: her biggest claim to fame was playing opposite King Kong in King Kong (1933) but she’s in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents that I like called The Morning After (1959). She plays the wife of a cad who is running around on her. Jeanette Nolan, who’s always good, is her co-star.

She’s close to the lake.

Paul Muni was big in 1930s film. He did I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932), The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), The Life of Emile Zola (1937), The Good Earth (1937) and Juarez (1939). In Juarez, Muni portrays Benito Juarez, Brian Aherne is Maximilian and Bette Davis is Carlota.

Paul Muni and his wife are buried in the Jewish section of the cemetery under the foliage of an evergreen tree.

Douglas Fairbanks was one of the biggest silent film stars. He starred in His Picture in the Papers (1916), The Mark of Zorro (1920), Robin Hood (1922), The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and The Gaucho (1927).

He knew how to be buried too.

This is the burial place of a man with a healthy ego.

He’s my favorite silent film star too.

Both cemeteries are well maintained and nice places to visit on a Sunday afternoon.

Coming Soon: Rest in Peace 2 with all new cemeteries and all new stars!

Sources

Rox, D. D. & Silver, M. L. (Ed.). (1920). Who’s Who on the Screen. New York: Ross Publishing Company.

Hollywood Forever, Cemetery — Funeral Home — Library of Lives. The Official Directory. (No Date). Los Angeles: Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

All photos and postcards were bought off E-bay or flea markets or paper shows within the last twenty years. The pictures of Judy Garland and Cecil B. DeMille are from Wikimedia Commons.

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, Albert C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.


 

Church of the Angels

This church is beautiful. More than once I’ve stopped in and said a prayer.

Here’s the earliest image of the church I could find.

This building was designed for an area in Los Angeles County called Garvanza. Garvanza was between Pasadena and Eagle Rock, California. Garvanza evolved into Highland Park but this church is now within Pasadena’s city limits. Note the architect.

In 1883, Robert Alexander Campbell-Johnston* bought part of the Rancho San Rafael. After the land purchase Mr. Campbell-Johnston sailed back to England and left his sons: Conway Seymour, Alexander Napier and Augustine, in charge. According to a book published by the church about the church, when the senior Campbell-Johnston returned to California five years later, “he passed away at the ranch house on January 21st, 1888.”

This is contradicted by an item in the Los Angeles Times dated January 26, 1888.  This article was found under the title:

Johnston Estate: A Rich Englishman Comes to California to Die

The first paragraph in the article contains this sentence.

“Application was made yesterday for letters testamentary in the estate of R.A. Campbell-Johnston, the wealthy Englishman, who possessed a fine ranch in close proximity to the city, and who died quite recently in London, England.”

The second paragraph is about the value of the ranch which was estimated to be in the vicinity of $280,000.

The final paragraph says, in part, “Mr. Johnston, at the time of his death, was 76 years of age, and had proposed to spend the evening of his life with his sons in California, but fate willed it otherwise.”

The Church of the Angels was erected the following year, by his wife Frances E. Campbell-Johnston, as a memorial to him.

The cornerstone for the Church of the Angels was laid on April 20, 1889 and the church was consecrated on September 29, 1889.

*Note: In newspaper reports he was referred to as Robert Alexander Campbell-Johnston, R. A. Campbell-Johnston and Alexander Robert Campbell-Johnston.

The handout, supplied by the church and regarding the history of the church, states the church was designed by England’s Arthur Edmond Street. I contacted the church about Street’s role in the church’s design and Fr. Bob Gaestel said the handout was based on a book published by the church in 1951 titled, Sixty Years: The Church of the Angels, The Bishops’s Chapel which was written by the vicar of the church at the time — Reverend Edwin Moss.

Moss wrote, “Mrs. Alexander Robert Campbell-Johnston desired to erect a church in memory of her husband, she requested Mr. Street to draw the plans after the manner of Hombury St. Mary’s. However, the topography of the land, the site of which had already been chosen, made it advisable to alter and adapt the plans. This work was entrusted to another English architect, Mr. Ernest A. Coxhead, then living in Los Angeles. The adaption was of such a character that a comparison of the two churches reveals an influence rather than a likeness…”

In the book, On the Edge of the World author Richard Longstreth doesn’t even mention Street and claims Ernest Coxhead is the sole architect of the Church of the Angels.

Right from the start Coxhead claimed to be the architect of the church. In the January 11, 1890 issue of American Architect was this brief mention of the church.

I know about Ernest Coxhead because of a wonderful book edited by the great Robert Winter called A Simpler Way of Life. The book is from 1997 and even though I wasn’t writing back then I wish I could have written a chapter for that book.

Here’s an image of Mr. Coxhead. He looks like he should be in a Merchant/Ivory movie.

The landscape around the church is totally empty in this image. It doesn’t look much different now.

These three images are from the journal The Building Review. These images state Coxhead & Coxhead are the architects. Ernest Coxhead had a brother named Almeric who was also an architect. Like all the other architectural journals mentioned in this post, The Building Review ceased publication years ago.

It’s strange that there would be images of the church in this publication, or any publication, in 1919 because it had been thirty years since the church was erected. Maybe, that’s why they did it? Because it had been thirty years?

I found this information in Pacific Coast Architect.
It’s from their “Personal Glimpses” column.

Here’s the rest of the above article. It’s from September 1926.  This is just a snippet of his life but it doesn’t even mention the Church of the Angels.

Who wouldn’t want to go to this church?

If you walked to the church you would probably enter through this arts & crafts style portal.

It looks Romanesque.

Looking out from the church’s porch.

You never see shots of the church from this angle. It looks Tudor from this side.

This beautiful Campbell-Johnston crypt is behind the church. It was designed by Carleton M. Winslow.

The porte-cochere entrance.

That is some entry.

This is the other entrance.

The rafters above this entrance.

The baptismal font in the back of the church.

This arts & crafts mosaic is on a wall at the back of the church.

It hasn’t changed much in 130 years.

I looked for a Coxhead obituary in both the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle but could not find one. I know he died March 27, 1933 but I still came up empty handed. It’s possible one never ran but he was a relatively prominent individual so I would be surprised by that. I did locate one in Architecture and Engineer. It’s below.

Mrs. Frances Campbell-Johnston died in England on November 21, 1893.

Alexander Napier Campbell-Johnston died in 1907.

Augustine Campbell-Johnston died in 1920.

Conway Seymour Campbell-Johnston and his wife died on May 7, 1915. Both drowned when the ocean liner they were traveling on, the Lusitania, was hit by a torpedo off the coast of Ireland.

___

Thanks to Fr. Bob Gaestel for his help!

___

SOURCES

Church of the Angels. (1890, May 4). American Architect & Building News, 28(752), plate.

Church of the Angels. (1919, July). The Building Review, 18(1), plates 1-3.

Ernest Coxhead. (1926, September). Pacific Coast Architect, 30(3), 53.

Ernest Coxhead obituary. (1933, April). Architecture and Engineer, 113(1), 51.

Johnston estate: a rich Englishman came to California to die. (1888, January 26). Los Angeles Times, 1.

Longstreth, R. (1998). On the Edge of the World. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Memorial Church of the Angels, Los Angeles, Cal. (1890, January 11). American Architect & Building News, 27(733), 28.

Moss, E. (1951). Sixty years: Church of the Angels — The Bishop’s Chapel.

Public service: city hall, courts. (1915, June 22). Los Angeles Times, II10.

___

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Norman Foote Marsh 1871-1955

Venice of America

I think the main reason I decided to do this post was because I wanted to right a wrong. In many books about the city of Venice (California) there is little mention of the architects who designed the city. Often, either they’re not mentioned at all or if they are — they’re given one line. Most publications attribute Venice of America to Abbott Kinney. While it’s true there would be no Venice, California without Abbott Kinney — Abbott Kinney never obtained a degree in architecture or engineering. Kinney was definitely a man with a vision but somebody had to put that vision on paper and oversee its construction. Marsh & Russell were the men who did that.

Norman Foote March was from the Midwest. Born on July 16, 1871, he grew up in Upper Alton, Illinois which is approximately twenty-five miles north of St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were Ebenezer and Katherine Marsh. A telling indication that Marsh was born in the 19th century can be found in the fact that Marsh was the seventh son born into the Marsh family. At sixteen he graduated from high school and then attended Shurtleff College where he studied art and literature. He did not receive a degree from Shurtleff but he did receive a degree from the University of Illinois. He entered the U of I in 1892 and received a Bachelor of Science degree, from the college of engineering and school of architecture, in 1897. Upon graduation he obtained a job at the American Luxfer Prism Company in Chicago. He worked for Luxfer for three years before he headed west.

In 1900 Marsh arrived in Los Angeles and formed a brief partnership with a man named J.N. Preston. Their firm was known as Preston & Marsh and lasted for one year. Immediately afterwards Marsh teamed up with Clarence H. Russell. That firm was known as Marsh & Russell and the two were partners until 1907.

It was during this partnership that Marsh & Russel were hired by Abbott Kinney to design Venice of America. Venice was built upon sand dunes and swamp land. In a Los Angeles Times article dated July 31, 1904 the initial construction was detailed.

“Architects Marsh & Russell are preparing the working drawings of the proposed buildings to be erected for Abbot Kinney on his ocean frontage near Ocean Park.” A wharf, 800 feet long, was one of the improvements mentioned in the article along with the excavation and cement work necessary for all the buildings and canals. Even though it was only 1904 the entire area was slated to have electricity so the components necessary to power the new city were in the process of being installed. The article ended with this line, “The improvements as a whole will involve a large amount of capital.”

The History of California contains the biographies of many prominent Californians from the first decades of the 20th Century. In this publication, which was published within ten years of Venice’s completion, Marsh & Russell are listed as the architects of Venice. This is what it says:

From A History of California.

This is from the 1906 Los Angeles City Directory. Their offices were in the Stimson Building. Lucky them.

This article is from a 1906 issue of Architectural Record. Here, not only are the architects credited in the text for the design of Venice but they are also credited in the photographs too. For the record, Venice of America opened on July 4, 1905.

Abbott Kinney from A History of California.

Dreams, Disappointments and Hope.

In a LA Times article from 1907 titled “Dreams and Disappointments and Hope,” Abbot Kinney said he wanted to build an ideal city. One that was built upon artistic lines and one that would be “partly for study, partly for recreation and partly for health.” Now, there is some irony in that statement because Kinney amassed his fortune from cigarettes. Kinney was a partner in the Kinney Brothers Tobacco Company and their number one, best-selling, rolled cigarette was the Sweet Caporal. The brothers would eventually merge with the American Tobacco Company in 1890 and that merger resulted in the two Kinney brothers receiving $5 million dollars in stock from the American Tobacco Company.

The merger also allowed Kinney the opportunity to travel around the world. When he arrived in Southern California he discovered his asthma practically disappeared so he decided to stay in the Southland.

Kinney couldn’t remember when the idea for Venice of America came to him but he originally wanted to call the city St. Mark’s. Unfortunately, whenever Kinney revealed his plans to create a city called St. Mark’s — no one that he disclosed his plans to — connected St. Mark’s with Venice. Annoyed, he scrapped the St. Mark’s name and decided on Venice of America instead.

Kinney stated: “My idea was to build a city that would be for recreation and learning. I thought of a university town — I had lived in Heidelberg — only by the sea where people could relax and enjoy this glorious air and at the same time be in a certain atmosphere of culture.”

Venice didn’t turn out the way Kinney wanted. He wanted art and refinement. Instead, he ended up with a midway filled with sideshows and barkers. Kinney confessed that his goal may have been too high but he had come to terms with the midway and said, “it isn’t so bad.”

When asked why he didn’t name the city after himself, Kinney said the pharaohs in Egypt had built pyramids “to perpetuate their memories forever” yet people forgot how to read the language in which their achievements were documented. He then asked rhetorically, “What do you think the chances are for my being remembered?”

Abbott Kinney died of lung cancer on November 4, 1920. He’s buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica.

His family is there with him.

Below are some postcards of Venice.

Architect and Engineer claims Marsh & Russell designed this roller coaster ride too.

This is what the interior of the Ship Cafe looked like.

The reverse of the previous card.

I want to go here but it’s not there anymore.

Venice in 2020. The partial remains of the main thoroughfare, Windward Avenue.

I suspect tenants can go up on the roof of this building. It’s a block from the Pacific Ocean.

Directly across the street from the salmon colored building (South) is this building.

This building has a Touch of Evil inspired mural on the side. Touch of Evil is a 1958 movie which starred Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Orson Welles. Part of the movie was filmed in Venice.

There were lots of people and cars so it wasn’t easy to get a good shot of the mural. It’s very appropriate for the location.

The uneven side of the building?

All of the column capitals have figural representations. This is one example.

This building is located across the street (East) from the salmon colored building and before the hanging Venice sign in the first photograph.

A column capital with a different figural image. The mustache is a great touch.

The story of Venice’s evolution over the years is told in most books about the city. Briefly, financial problems in the early 1920s led to an annexation vote. The vote resulted in Venice becoming a part of Los Angeles. After Venice was annexed Los Angeles filled in many of the canals due to liability issues. In 1947 the Los Angeles earthquake plan resulted in the destruction of most of the buildings along Windward Ave. Many of the buildings that remained had their second, third and fourth stories removed for safety reasons. 😦

Other Buildings

I found this Marsh & Russell house in an issue of Western Architect.

I wasn’t quite sure I liked this house but the wood details in the gables, the big brackets and that “X” style fence along the front won me over.

This image is from a 1912 issue of Architect and Engineer. Norman Foote Marsh, architect.

Architect and Engineer referred to this building as “the magnificent Columbia Hospital, a Los Angeles structure, said by experts to be the finest building of its type West of New York.”

The History of California said of this building, “This hospital is modern in every detail and is equipped with every modern device known to science, including a system for washing the air as it enters the building, thus rendering it absolutely clean and scientifically pure.”

I couldn’t find the location of this building so I looked through Los Angeles city directories. I wanted to locate where it was built so I could find out if it was still there.

There it is. This is from the 1912 Los Angeles City Directory.

It had a name change. That’s why I couldn’t find it. This is from the 1913 Los Angeles City Directory.

I bought this postcard online.

Marsh spent most of his career designing schools, libraries and churches. Here are just a few of his buildings. The following six images are from Architect and Engineer.

The University of Redlands

The city of Redlands agreed to donate forty acres of land for a university, being spearheaded by a local Baptist congregation, on the condition $200,000 was raised for the construction of the buildings. On October 24, 1908 the LA Times announced that $240,000 had been raised and the city had donated the forty acres. The congregation had raised the money through an appeal to Baptist churches from around the state yet they still wanted to raise another $60,000 and felt they could achieve this final goal by going to Baptist churches in San Diego, Pasadena and Redlands for the money.

Norman F. Marsh had been selected as the architect and the trustees wanted a layout that was symmetrical. The buildings Marsh designed would be classical in style and constructed of concrete. Many would have brick veneers. The first five buildings slated to be erected were a woman’s dormitory, a gymnasium, the school of fine arts, the president’s mansion and the administration building. The plan was to have all the buildings lead up to the administration building which would be at the center of campus and be seen as the crown of the university.

On April 12, 1909 there was a half hour, ground breaking ceremony attended by 200 people that included the president of the university, Dr. J. N. Field. When the first shovel of dirt was turned the entire gathering broke into the song, “Nearer, My God to Thee.”

The corner-stone for the administration building was put into place on June 21, 1909 in front of a crowd of 300. The ceremony was overseen by the state’s Grand Lodge of Masons. The program began with a band selection followed by the invocation. Dr. J. N. Field delivered the welcome address and then gave a progress report regarding the university.

The corner-stone itself was four feet long, two feet high and 18 inches deep. It was inscribed with the words “Administration Building 1909.” A copper box was placed inside the cornerstone. Its contents included: a history of the First Baptist Church of the Redlands, a list of members of the church, the names of the building committee, a copy of the first booklet issued by the University of Redlands, a copy of the speech given by Dr. J.N. Field at the December 7, 1906 Baptist convention, and copies of the Pacific Baptist, the Redlands Daily Facts and the Redlands Daily Review.

After the corner-stone and copper box were in place there was another band selection followed by the keynote address given by Rev. F. B. Matthews, pastor of the Baptist Church of the Redlands.

The University officially opened on September 30, 1909 but students didn’t immediately move onto campus. Classes were held at the local Baptist church instead but there were only fifty-one students enrolled at this juncture. The university wasn’t ready for occupancy until January 27, 1910 and the administration building was officially dedicated on February 10, 1910. After the administration building’s dedication ceremony — ground was broken for Bekins Hall.

Photo courtesy of University of Redlands.

Administration Building. Photo courtesy of University of Redlands.

Administration Building. Photo courtesy of University of Redlands.

Photos courtesy of University of Redlands.

Bekins Hall. Photo courtesy of University of Redlands.

Fine Arts Building. Photo courtesy of University of Redlands.

Fine Arts Building. Photo courtesy of University of Redlands.

Marsh married Cora Mae Cairns on January 23, 1901 in Polo, Illinois. The couple had two children, Norman LeRoy Marsh and Marion Elizabeth Marsh. Their long time home was located at 1934 Milan Avenue in South Pasadena. His office, in the year 1915, was located in the Broadway Central Building. He was head of the firm Marsh, Smith & Powell for many years but retired in 1945. In 1951 Norman and Cora Mae Marsh celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. The event was hosted by their two children and held in South Pasadena; 150 guests attended.

Marsh was a 32nd degree Mason and was seen as a progressive citizen. He was also chairman of the board of trustees for the Memorial Baptist Church in South Pasadena.

Marsh died on September 5, 1955. He was living in a sanatorium at the time of his death and died after a brief illness. He was 84.

Marsh, Smith & Powell designed this South Pasadena Post Office in 1932.

_____

A special thanks to Jill Prestup, president of the Venice Historical Society, for answering my questions concerning certain aspects of Venice history.

Thanks also to Jennifer Alvarado for the photos of the University of Redlands.

Sources

Administration building open. (1910, February 10). Los Angeles Times, II11.

Big fountain for Venice. (1905, July 19). Los Angeles Times, II9.

Burdette, R. J. (Ed.). (1910). Greater Los Angeles & Southern California portraits & personal memoranda. Los Angeles: The Lewis Publishing Company.

By builders and architects. (1904, July 31). Los Angeles Times, D2.

By builders and architects. (1905, August 6). Los Angeles Times, V22.

Carr, H. C. (1907, March 17). Dream and disappointment and hope of Venetian doge. Los Angeles Times, II1.

Corner-stone put in place. (1909, June 22). Los Angeles Times, II9.

Deluge the president: scheme presented by speaker at Long… (1905, September 29). Los Angeles Times, II7.

Future bright for university. (1908, October 25). Los Angeles Times, V1.

Gnerre, S. (2018, May 20). South Bay History: why Wilmington once had its own city hall. Daily Breeze.

Guinn, J. M. (1915). A history of California and an extended history of Los Angeles and environs. Los Angeles: Historic Record Company.

Harper, F. (1915). Who’s who on the Pacific Coast. Los Angeles: Harper Publishing Company.

Moran, T. & Sewell, T. (1980). Fantasy by the Sea. Culver City: Peace Press.

New Venice bursts on illumined sea. (1905, July 2). Los Angeles Times, II1.

Norman Foote Marsh, 84, retired architect dies. (1955, September 6). Los Angeles Times, A12.

Post office architects appointed. (1932, December 4). Los Angeles Times, 17.

Redlands University. (1909, June 16). Los Angeles Times, II9.

Residence in Los Angeles, California. (1905, December). Western Architect, 4(12), supplement.

Stanton, J. (1980). Venice of America 1905-1930. Venice: ARS Publications.

Students move to new home. (1910, January 27). Los Angeles Times, II11.

University has its beginnings. (1909, April 20). Los Angeles Times, 13.

University is opened. (1909, September 30). Los Angeles Times, II11.

Venice of America. (1904, November 13). Los Angeles Times, 9.

Venice of America. (1904, November 22). Los Angeles Times, A9.

Venice of America (1905, January 29). Los Angeles Times, V24.

Willey, D.A. (1906, October). An American Venice. Architectural Record, 20(4), 347-351.

Wolfe, W.C. (Ed.). (1901). Men of California 1900-1902. San Francisco: The Pacific Art Company.

The work of Norman F. Marsh. (1912, December). Architect and Engineer, 31(2), 46-66.

_________

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

This post isn’t about Clarence H. Russell but he did design a library that I’ve frequented. That’s the Cahuenga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

There is a round kiosk in front of the library that even mentions him.

Morgan Walls & Clements on West 7th Street

The Churrigueresque panel above the entrance of the 7th and Grandview Building.

My favorite Los Angeles architectural firm is Morgan, Walls & Clements who designed numerous buildings along West 7th Street near Westlake Park.

Note: for non Angelenos, Westlake Park’s name was changed in 1942 to MacArthur Park.

In this post, I’ve included four different articles that described new (at the time) Morgan, Walls & Clements buildings in the Westlake Park area. The first article is from an issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor dated October 12, 1923. In it, the writer used the firm’s old name of Morgan, Walls & Morgan which was in use from 1910-1922 but in 1923 the firm changed its name to Morgan, Walls & Clements.

Here is a view of the corner of 7th and Grandview from Pacific Coast Architect.

From Pacific Coast Architect. The telephone lines were still above ground.

The complex in June 2020.

The Grandview Street side view.

Detail of the Churrigueresque on Grandview Street.

The other tower.

Detail on the less ornate tower.

In the last paragraph of the Southwest Builder and Contractor article the Hite Building is described. Below are some images of that building. The address for this building is 2525 West Seventh Street.

From Southwest Builder and Contractor.

The Hite Building from Pacific Coast Architect, March 1924.

This romanticized image of the Hite Building appeared on the cover of the August 1924 issue of California Southland.

If you look at the first Pacific Coast Architect image of the Hite Building you can see where this chocolate store is situated along the building’s colonnade. The circle is the key.

Hite Building interior photo from Pacific Coast Architect.

Here is the Hite Building in 2020. 😦

Here’s another view.

This second article is from the November 16, 1923 issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor.

I had a hard time locating this Bilicke Building because there is a Bilicke Building located at 3225 Wilshire Blvd which has a 1940s facade and I thought, maybe, the Morgan Walls & Clements’ Bilicke Building had been remodeled but the text from the Southwest Builder and Contractor article and the text that accompanies the photograph above indicate this Bilicke Building was across the street from the 7th & Grandview Building.

I wanted to make sure so I looked through old building permit records.

The address is right. It’s listed as 2310 W. 7th Street and this whole block is the 2300 block of West 7th Street. Notice that the owner of the building is the Bilicke Estate. Albert C. Bilicke was president of the Alexandria Hotel and had worked at the Hollenbeck Hotel. He drowned when the Lusitania was torpedoed in 1915.

Bilicke and his wife were able to get into one of the Lusitania’s lifeboats but it capsized as it was being lowered. Once in the water, his wife clung to a large piece of wood for four hours and was rescued. Bilicke’s body was never found. Bilicke was on his way to Europe to recover from an abdominal operation. Image from Notables of the Southwest.

Below are some images of the Bilicke Building’s Richelieu Cafe after it was finished. The first three are from a magazine called Architect.

The following photo is somewhat “fuzzy” but I’ve noticed in some of these early architectural publications the photographers tried for “artistic” shots, though, low light could have been a factor too.

The above image of the Richelieu is from Pacific Coast Architect, March 1924.

Another image of the Richelieu from Pacific Coast Architect, March 1924.

So the way this part of West 7th Street was set up was like this: The 7th and Grandview Building was situated in the 2200 block of West 7th Street. Across Grandview Street, in the 2300 block of West 7th Street, was the Bilicke Building and next to the Bilicke Building was the Spencer Thorpe Building. The Spencer Thorpe Building was also in the 2300 Block of West 7th Street. In April 1924 the Southern California chapter of the American Institute of Architects selected the Spencer Thorpe Building as the best designed building erected in the past year.

The following five images of the Spencer Thorpe Building are from Pacific Coast Architect.

The Bilicke Building, Richelieu Cafe and Spencer Thorpe Building no longer exist. They were demolished and the MacArthur Park Elementary School now occupies the site.

MacArthur Park Elementary School.

California Southland was a journal published between the years 1918-1929. It was a “booster” publication so many of the articles are a bit “over-the-top” in their praise of everything California but there is a wealth of information in the publication. The following article is from September 1924.

The middle photograph on the second page is the McKinley Building. The following five images of the McKinley Building are from Pacific Coast Architect.

These images are from 1924.

And there was a restaurant too.

It looks like Casa Felipe sold chocolates on the side. This page had two photos. One on top and one on the bottom. The top photo was about something completely different so I eliminated that photo along with the text.

The McKinley Building.

I found the McKinley Building. It’s missing the ornament at the roof-line but is still in good shape. The building’s address is 2510 West Seventh Street.

Window detail.

More window detail. I bet it’s terra-cotta.

Here is an illustration of the building from Pacific Coast Architect. In the bottom left corner is the name John V. Koester.

I found Koester in the LA City Directory for 1921.

I found this image in another issue of PCA. The text refers to the building as the Cobb Building and also mentions that the store on the ground floor is the Marshall Laird Shop.

These photos are revealing because they indicates that at one time there was a patio-like entrance at the Cobb Building and for Marshall Laird’s shop.

That’s it. The Cobb Building. The address is different but that’s the same building. Today, the address is 2859-2861 West 7th Street.

Even though it’s been altered that’s still a beautiful entry.

NOTE

I did not find the 7th and Grandview Building, the McKinley Building or the Cobb Building in the Los Angeles list of Historic Cultural Monuments. That’s unfortunate. Hopefully, all three will be safe from destruction in the coming years.

SOURCES

A storefront in Los Angeles. (1924, August). California Southland, 6(56), cover.

Duncombe, A. (1924, September). Beautiful architecture a magnate for trade. California Southland, 6(57), 7-8.

Hewitt, H. (1924, March). Is good architectural design a paying investment and how much does it cost. Pacific Coast Architect, 25(3), 5-17.

Los Angeles City Directory. (1921). Los Angeles: Los Angeles Directory Company.

Marshall Laird shop; Olive J. Cobb building. (1925, April). Pacific Coast Architect, 27(4), 29, 32.

Richelieu Cafe. (1924, July). Architect, The, 2(4), plates: 78, 79 & 80.

Seares, M. U. (1924, September). The expert is worthy of his hire. California Southland, 6(57), 9-11.

Shop building awarded high honors. (1924, April 20). Los Angeles Times, D3.

Shops in Los Angeles: the works of Morgan, Walls & Clements. (1924, April). Pacific Coast Architect, 25(4), 11-24.

Some fine interiors. (1924, March). Pacific Coast Architect, 25(3), 25-33.

Store building on west Seventh Street at Carondelet. (1923, October 12). Southwest Builder and Contractor, 61(15), 36-37.

West Seventh St. store and cafe building. (1923, November 16). Southwest Builder and Contractor, 61(20), 36.

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My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

 

American Bungalow 2020

I did a short story for American Bungalow. It concerns building styles and a course I took recently at a local university.

It’s published under my pen name Guillermo Luna which translates as William Moon.

This is one of the postcards they didn’t use in the article.

I’ve always liked American Bungalow because of the photographs of bungalow interiors. It’s a fantastic magazine and their website is Americanbungalow.com

I’m happy with the way the story turned out.

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My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Pierce Brothers

The Pierce Brothers Mortuary, located at 720 West Washington in Los Angeles, opened in 1923. The architects of the building were Meyer & Holler who were also known as the Milwaukee Building Company. They were solely responsible for the architecture, engineering, decorating and construction of the establishment. A description of the building was released in the press prior to its opening and the style of the building was described as “semi-formal Italian renaissance.” The Los Angeles Conservancy disagrees and deems the style as Spanish Colonial Revival with a Churrigueresque arch over the entrance on Washington Boulevard.

Pierce Brothers Mortuary. Photo courtesy Historic Places LA.

One of the central features of the mortuary was a large lobby which overlooked a garden. It also contained offices, a chapel, numerous reception rooms, and a large garage built at the rear of the building for use by mourners.

This was the Washington Street entrance for the chapel. Photograph used with the permission of UCLA and the Will Connell collection.

The lobby at Pierce Brothers. Photograph used with the permission of UCLA and the Will Connell collection.

The Chapel at Pierce Brothers. Notice the round windows. Photograph used with the permission of UCLA and the Will Connell collection.

The business was founded by Frederick E. Pierce and William H. Pierce. Fred arrived in Los Angeles in 1881 and was listed as a veterinary surgeon in the 1900 census. William went to Sacramento in 1880 first and then moved to Los Angeles in 1884. Before the mortuary business William owned a furniture store and a livery stable in the old plaza district which is the current location of Olvera Street.

This is Pierce from Greater Los Angeles and Southern California’s Portraits and Personal Memoranda published in 1910.

Fred Pierce from Men of California published in 1926.

In 1902 the brothers started their mortuary business when they erected a two story building at 810-812 South Flower Street. This building was 142 x 60 feet and the first floor of this building was dedicated entirely to funeral services. It contained a chapel that could seat up to seventy-five people, reception rooms, show rooms, offices and “two guests’ chambers for the accommodation of those who desire to remain with deceased friends.” The second floor was devoted solely to the “business aspects” of the mortuary and was the location for all the equipment necessary for preparing the deceased for internment.

William H. Pierce

Photo and text from Who’s Who in Los Angeles County 1932-33.

According to city directories a third brother joined the firm in 1930. That year Clarence W. Pierce became the treasurer for the mortuary. Clarence came to Los Angeles in 1894 to attend the University of Southern California and graduated in 1898 with a medical degree. In 1902 when his brothers were opening their first mortuary, Clarence was the police surgeon of Los Angeles. That same year he traveled to Boston to marry Florence Loring Cook who had visited the Southland three years earlier.

Clarence Pierce courtesy Los Angeles Pierce College.

The Pierce Brothers Mortuary on Washington handled many celebrity funerals over the years including Thelma Todd’s. [In coverage of her funeral it was noted that at Todd’s service Todd was dressed in a 2 piece, blue silk, pajama set for her viewing. That would have been something to see.]

The service that caught my eye, though, was for Wyatt Earp. Earp died in January 1929 and was a former U.S. Marshal in both Dodge City and Tombstone. His friends included Wild Bill Hickok and Bat Masterson. At Erp’s funeral, western silent film stars William S. Hart and Tom Mix were pallbearers.

From the 1928 Los Angeles City Directory.

Fred E. Pierce died September 26, 1928. He was survived by his brothers, William and Clarence, along with two other brothers, Marcus and Herbert, and a sister, Catherine. Fred was a past exalted ruler of the ELKS and his service was held at the 99 lodge of the B.P.O.E. — across from Westlake Park. Over 2,500 people showed up for the service but unfortunately the lodge room only held 1,500 so a thousand people didn’t get in. After the service the procession to the cemetery extended for over a mile. Fredrick E. Pierce was buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.

Fred Pierce had his service here — in Claud Beelman’s Elks’ Lodge across from Westlake Park.

William H. Pierce was on the Los Angeles City Council from 1898-1902. He was a member of the City Planning Commission, City Traffic Commission and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. His son, Dr. Sterling Pierce, who was the chief of staff at California Lutheran Hospital died in an automobile accident in December 1938. Three months later William H. Pierce died at Chase Sanatorium. Most newspaper accounts claimed it was the demise of his son that led to William H. Pierce’s death. William H. Pierce was buried at the San Jacinto Valley Cemetery in San Jacinto, California.

At the start of World War II, Clarence ran for the Los Angeles School Board and won. After becoming a board member he urged the city to buy 392 acres in Woodland Hills for a branch of the city’s community college system. Clarence Pierce thought the city’s youth lacked agricultural knowledge so in 1947, in honor of his vision, the Clarence W. Pierce School of Agriculture opened. Pierce died in 1953 and three years later the school’s named was shortened to Los Angeles Pierce College. Clarence Pierce was buried at Valhalla Memorial Park which sits in both North Hollywood and Burbank, California. [It sits on the boundary line.]

Clarence Pierce is buried at Valhalla.

Clarence Pierce courtesy Los Angeles Pierce College.

In 1958 Pierce Brothers Mortuary was the largest funeral home business in the United States. Mark A. Pierce, who was Fredrick Pierce’s son, announced on December 23, 1958 that all of the Pierce Brothers’ businesses including the mortuaries, crematorium, insurance company and Valhalla Memorial Park had been sold to a group headed by Joe L. Allbritton who was a Texas businessman. The price paid was not revealed.

The Washington building was used in recent years as a church. In 2018 a fire engulfed the facility.

The three photos below were taken March 29, 2020.

The building is surrounded by fencing to keep people out.

When I took the three pictures above I knew I wanted to do a blog post on the Pierce Brothers Mortuary. I started writing a post on April 17, 2020 but the proceeding three pictures were dark and rainy and depressing. My opinion of those first three photographs that I took was: they’re not very good. I wanted photographs that were bright and sunny and showed off the building in the best light so I went back to take more photographs after I had begun to write the post. When I went back I realized something was wrong. The following photos were taken between April 22 and April 30, 2020.

The Churrigueresque arch over the Washington Street entrance.

I stuck the lens of my camera though a gap in the fence and took this photo. This was the garden area adjacent to the large lobby.

Photo taken from the rear of the building.

It looks like they’re tearing the building down. 😦

After 97 years the tower is almost gone.

The tower is gone.

The following pictures were taken on May 2, 2020.

I stuck my arm through a gap in the fence, pointed the camera west and clicked the shutter button. I couldn’t see what I was taking a picture of but it came out in focus. YAY! To orient yourself with this image look at the first photograph in this post.

From the 1928 Los Angeles City Directory.

R.I.P. Pierce Brothers Mortuary. You were a beautiful Meyer & Holler building.

UPDATE: I emailed Erik Van Breene at the Los Angeles Conservancy and he said, “My understanding is that they are saving a portion of the Chapel and facade that are stabilized.” This is good news! At least part of the building will survive. YAY!

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Thanks!

I want to extend a special thanks to Will Connell (1898-1961) who took the photographs of the Pierce Brothers building. If he hadn’t taken these pictures there would be no record of this building when it was new. Everyone who lives in Los Angeles should be thankful Will Connell was out there taking photographs and documenting Los Angeles and the Southland.

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Sources

Burdette, R. J. (Ed.). 1910. Greater Los Angeles & Southern California portraits & personal memoranda. Los Angeles: The Lewis Publishing Company.

Clarence W. Pierce, founder Pierce College. Accessed 4/19/2020 from

http://www.piercecollege.edu/offices/honorees/pierce.asp

Deaths. (1928, September 29). Los Angeles Times, 16.

Detwiler, J.B. (Ed.). (1929). Who’s who in California 1928-1929. San Francisco: Who’s Who Publishing Company.

Doings of builders and architects. (1902, October 19). Los Angeles Times, A1.

Elks arrange Pierce rites. (1928, September 28). Los Angeles Times, A13.

Earp buried by old west. (1929, January 17). Los Angeles Times, A2.

Friends from all walks of life pay final tribute at Thelma Todd’s funeral. (1935, December 20). Los Angeles Times, 9.

Gone East to marry. (1902, October 10). Los Angeles Times, A3.

Lang, C. J. (Ed.). (1933). Who’s who in Los Angeles county 1932-1933. Los Angeles: Whos Who in Los Angeles County.

Last rites for Pierce conducted. (1928, September 30). Los Angeles Times, B3.

Millions in buildings planned for Southland. (1923, September 16). Los Angeles Times, VI.

Pierce Brothers Mortuary. Los Angeles Conservancy. Accessed April 19, 2020 from:

https://www.laconservancy.org/locations/pierce-brothers-mortuary

Rasmussen, C. (1998, September 20). A lively business in funerals. Los Angeles Times.

Sale announced of all Pierce Bros. companies. (1958, December 24). Los Angeles Times, B3.

Tamer of the wild west dies. (1929, January 14). Los Angeles Times, A1.

W. H. Pierce, mortuary founder, dies. (1939, February 24). Hollywood Citizen News.

Will Connell papers, 1928-1961, at UCLA.

Wolfe, W.C. (Ed.). (1926). Men of California. Los Angeles: Western Press Reporter, Inc.

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My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Bakewell & Brown’s Pasadena City Hall

Pasadena’s City Hall is one of the most photographed buildings in Southern California.

When standing at the base it’s like a huge monument to democracy. It’s hard to get the whole building in one shot.

This is the best I could do. I was crazy even to take this shot because I was standing in the middle of the street and we all know what California drivers are like.

Inside the entrance is a vestibule.

The vestibule contains this clock which sits at the entrance to the exterior courtyard.

The vestibule has a barrel ceiling with rosettes. It also contains numerous light fixtures like the one above. Notice the medieval towers above the fleur-de-lis on the light fixture.

The courtyard contains a large fountain.

The courtyard is beautifully designed with towers and an arcade.

This is the view from across the street looking at the back of city hall.

Yet, it wasn’t always intended to look like this. Below is the competitive drawing that won Bakewell & Brown the city hall commission. The firm had already designed San Francisco’s City Hall, which was completed in 1916, so that probably gave them a leg up on the competition.

The original design was influenced by the missions. I don’t like it. Image courtesy Architect and Engineer.

John Bakewell, Jr. wrote an article for Architecture and Engineer. In it he described the process in which his firm, Bakewell and Brown, were selected as the firm to design the city hall. According to Bakewell, Pasadena contacted ten firms and asked them to submit plans. Each plan was “keyed” and then the drawings were submitted for consideration anonymously. The selection committee was comprised of George Ellery Hale, Stuart W. French, Ernest J. Batchelder, Robert D. Farquhar and Pierpont Davis. After the selection committee made their decision the firms not chosen were given payment for their submissions.

The Chicago firm of (Edward) Bennett, (William) Parsons and (Harry) Frost were the men behind Pasadena’s Beaux-Arts civic center plan which was drawn up in 1923 and included three buildings. The city hall was at the center of the plan. The library was the second building in the configuration which was north of city hall and designed by Myron Hunt and H.C. Chambers. The civic auditorium was the third building and was located south of city hall and designed by Edwin Bergstrom, Cyril Bennett and Fitch Haskell.

A call for construction bids went out on January 4, 1926 and by this date an ornamental observational dome (referred to at the time as a tower) was already part of the new city hall design. Two months earlier the dome had tentatively been approved but it was quickly rescinded when citizens complained about the cost. While a bond issue had raised over $3 million for the construction of the three buildings it wouldn’t be sufficient to erect all three. Yet, in the end the city decided to spend the money for the dome which would raise the cost of the building.

The following images are all from Architect and Engineer.

Bakewell explained the change in design for city hall:

“In the original, or competition design for this building, an entirely different central motive was used from that finally adopted. A comparison of the two designs is interesting. The first, or abandoned design, was strikingly original and apparently of great promise. However, it is easy to imagine that its study would offer many difficulties. In order to make its mass truly impressive, as was very necessary on account of the size of the building and the scale of the whole civic center scheme, it would have to grow much larger than the original drawings showed it.”

Bakewell also wrote,

“The fact that it was not the front piece for a building but the central motive of a long façade made it questionable whether a pierced wall design, no matter how massive that wall should be made, could fulfill its purpose. The perspective effects might have been very picturesque, but on the other hand they might readily have been grotesque when seen from certain angles. The design of the dome that was actually used has the great advantage that its mass is preponderant and consequently counts from every point of view. It actually forms a marking point for the center of the city and a fitting termination to the broad avenue of approach to the civic center.”

Bakewell continued,

“However, the idea of a portal has not been lost and the present design probably owes it openness to the earlier idea. It still remains as an open portal leading into the patio and converts the patio into a veritable garden vestibule for the whole building, instead of an inclosed [sic] court. This feeling of airiness and openness has been preserved in the dome that the central mass supports.” From Architect and Engineer, pages 37-38.

Bakewell saw the arcade that runs along the east side of the patio as a stop gap measure.

“The scheme consists of a large single court, or patio, with a narrow ribbon of a building running completely around it, the whole forming a hollow rectangle. The rear of this rectangle is at present left open and the scheme cannot be considered as completed until it is closed in by the future extension of the building across this side, for which provision has been made. While the garden court, or patio, will not be completed until the extension of the building along Euclid Avenue entirely closes it in, a temporary arcade has been built along this street connecting the circulations of the first and second floors. This arcade is, perhaps, a little uninteresting as it stands today and it is to be hoped that its monotony will be broken in time by judicious planting. However, it serves a very useful purpose that justified it until such time as the scheme is finally completed.” Architect and Engineer, page 38.

The northeast corner of the patio showing the arcade and one of the towers.

The viewpoint from the patio looking west into the vestibule.

Construction started on January 21, 1926 and the building finally opened on December 27, 1927. The final cost of the building was $1,337,365.39.

Bakewell wrote that the style of the building was Renaissance.

The building is located at 100 North Garfield and has a frontage of 374 feet. The wings are 238 feet deep. The building covers an entire city block. The main story and the wings are three stories in height. The dome rises to a height of 205 feet and is 52 feet in diameter.

Arthur Brown, Jr. attended the École des Beaux-Arts and graduated in 1901. Bakewell also attended the École and graduated in 1901. The two men must have know each other in Paris and reconnected in San Francisco. They became partners in 1905. The San Francisco earthquake in 1906 was a boon for their business and provided numerous commissions for the young firm including the Green Library at Stanford and the Palace of Horticulture at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915.

Bakewell was born August 28, 1872 in Topeka, Kansas. He received a B.A. from the University of California in 1893 then was off to Paris. He served with the Red Cross in 1918-1919 in Lyons, France. He married Hazel King in 1922 when he was 50 years old. His home address was 855 Chestnut Street in San Francisco.

Brown was born on May 21, 1874 in Oakland, California. He received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of California in 1896 and then attended the École. He married Jessamine Garrett in 1916, when he was 42 years old, and the couple had two daughters: Victoria and Sylvia. Brown lectured at Harvard in 1918 and was a professor of architectural theory at the University of California in 1918-1919. He was also a member of the architectural committee that oversaw the design of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933.

According to SNAC Brown was the principal designer in the firm while Bakewell ran the office and attended to the finances. The firm’s office was located at 251 Kearny Street in San Francisco. The partnership continued until 1927. After the dissolution, Brown designed one other notable San Francisco landmark: Coit Tower.

Arthur Brown, Jr. died July 7, 1957. John Bakewell, Jr. died on February 19, 1963.

Arthur Brown, Jr. circa 1912. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

From left to right are John Bakewell, Jr., Arthur Brown, Jr., Jean-Louis Bourgeois and John Baur. Used with the permission of UC Berkeley.

Here’s another photo of Bakewell & Brown with Percy Young around the time Pasadena’s City Hall was constructed. Used with the permission of UC Berkeley.

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Sources

Arthur Brown, Jr. photo from Wikimedia commons.

Ask bids for new city hall at Pasadena. (1925, November 25). Los Angeles Times, A10.

Ask bids to build city hall. (1925, September 28). Los Angeles Times, A8.

Bakewell, John, Jr. (1928, June). The Pasadena City Hall. Architect and Engineer, 93(3), 35-39 & 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, 77, 79, 81-83.

Detwiler, J. B., (Ed.). (1929). Who’s who in California. San Francisco: Who’s Who Publishing Company.

Drawings for center chosen. (1924, March 29). Los Angeles Times, D8.

Ground breaking for new city hall. (1926, January 22). Pasadena Star-News.

Harper, F. (Ed.). (1913). Who’s who on the Pacific coast. Los Angeles: Harper Publishing Company.

John Bakewell, Jr., Arthur Brown, Jr., Jean-Louis Bourgeois, John Baur photo courtesy of UC Berkeley.

John Bakewell, Jr., Arthur Brown, Jr., and Percy Young photo courtesy of UC Berkeley.

Pasadena Public Library. Accessed on 2/7/2020 at, https://www.cityofpasadena.net/library/pasadena-history/

Rasmussen, C. (2007, May 6). One of Pasadena’s architectural jewels gets a polishing. Los Angeles Times, VCB2.

SNAC: https://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w6wm9v4n

Start city hall this fall. (1925, August 31). Los Angeles Times, 7.

Special thanks to Wei Zhang, a reference librarian at the Pasadena Public Library, who helped me track down when construction began.

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My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.