Headstones – Los Angeles
In 1849, when Los Angeles was originally surveyed, its cemetery was at the upper end of Eternity Street. It was the final resting place for many important magnates of the country around Los Angeles. A chapel was built when the city and hence the cemetery grew. In 1896, an even bigger cemetery was established on the other side of the Los Angeles River (Lincoln Heights). The historic old Calvary Cemetery was built over, as mentioned before, and put to other use.
New Calvary Cemetery now measures 137 acres and was dedicated in 1896. In 1902, a chapel was built on the grounds – the All Souls Chapel, which is now used primarily for burial services.
Of course, when talking about Los Angeles, one must not forget Hollywood Forever Cemetery (which was originally named Hollywood Cemetery). More of Hollywood’s founders and stars are buried here than anywhere else in the world. The cemetery was established in 1899 on 100 acres with Paramount Studios being built at the end of the same block of land, but no interments were made in this part. It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles and the only one actually being located in Hollywood. The cemetery has become a final resting place for writers, actors, directors and many other people from the entertainment industry. Another part of the cemetery became a dedicated Jewish burial ground, called Beth Olam Cemetery.
California is home to six Forest Lawn Southern California cemeteries, one of which is Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. It is located in Hollywood Heights. In 1906, the first Forest Lawn was founded in Glendale. It was supposed to reflect optimistic beliefs, and look like a landscaped park more than a cemetery. Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills became the second one to be established, but initially local residents protested against its opening. At night, Dr. Hubert Eaton, who created the cemetery, claimed six “John Does” from the city morgue and buried them at the corners of the property. According to Californian law, the land was now a cemetery, because the California Health and Safety Code states that ““Cemetery” means either of the following: (a)Any of the following that is used or intended to be used and dedicated for cemetery purposes: (1)A burial park, for earth interments. (2)A mausoleum, for crypt or vault interments. (3)A crematory and columbarium, for cinerary interments. (b)A place where six or more human bodies are buried.” According to this, the protesters had no power anymore and the project could be completed.
Gravestone and Monuments - Los Angeles
Usually the family of the deceased decides how the final monument is going to look like, but the rules and regulations of the cemeteries need to be adhered to. Deciding on the finishing touches of a gravestone can be a lengthy process, and it is usually easiest to give your monumental mason some artistic freedom in their work. That way, a professional, individualised and unique look can be achieved.
In ancient Greek or Roman cities such as Pompeii or Athens very old gravestones could be found. They had big monuments and temples, but also countless smaller steles (tall, erect memorials). This means, that the gravestone as such is not a Christian invention but older than that. Originally, the deceased were buried outside of the city walls, but later on this changed and people were also buried under churches and later in graveyards. Back then, simple slabs and not gravestones or big memorials were used to mark the graves. They showed the inscription as well as a picture of the deceased in the form of a relief. Materials such as sandstone, granite, limestone or schist were used, and in some cases bronze or brass. The monumental masons at that time preferred the use of precious natural stones which were embellished elaborately. The slabs were comparatively large, so they often soon ran out of room for other memorials. When that happened, the slabs were mounted on the walls. Later, because of this problem and also to protect them from people stepping on them, they were put in the ground standing erect. Depending on the financial means and social status of the families, the work was carried out elaborately or simpler. Very specialised art handicrafts developed at the time. During the 16th and 17th century, often forged grave crosses were used instead of gravestones.