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The History of LA’s Rosedale Cemetery

Feb 16, 2011 by Lisa Newton

Yesterday, I talked about a remarkable woman named Hattie McDaniel. She’s one of many famous–and not so famous–people buried in Rosedale Cemetery.

Today, it’s hard to imagine Los Angeles with a population of only 28,000 people, but that was the population when Rosedale Cemetery was originally founded in 1884.

Sitting on 65 acres, located in the heart of the historic West Adams area, Rosedale was the first cemetery in Los Angeles open to all races and religions (Although, from my research, the Chinese were not allowed in Rosedale, do in part to the Chinese Exclusion Act, until many years later).

But now, all you have to do is stroll the grassy hills to see names from many nationalities; Latino, African American, Asian and Caucasian.

Rosedale was also the first cemetery in Los Angeles to embrace the idea of the design called lawn cemeteries–where instead of having bodies stacked on top of each other, cemeteries were more park-like, with trees, shrubs, flowers and monumental art.

In addition, Rosedale is home to the second crematory in the United States and the first west of the Rockies. Built in 1887, by 1913, 2,392 cremations were performed at Rosedale.

Today, Rosedale is owned by the Angelus Funeral Home, who purchased the cemetery in 1993, hence the name change to Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.

Many of Los Angeles’ early politician and pioneers are buried here, including Hattie McDaniel.

Here’s a short list:

A

B

  • Edward L. Baker, Jr. (1865–1913), U.S. Army officer, Medal of Honor recipient during Spanish-American War
  • Phineas Banning (1830–1885), financier, known as the "Father of the Port of Los Angeles"
  • David S. Barmore (1832–1905), wealthy steamboat builder, helped make the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers famous
  • Emmer Bowen (1830–1912), Medal of Honor recipient during the Confederate War
  • Tod Browning (1880–1962), movie director, screenwriter, known as "The Master of the Macabre"
  • David Burbank (1821–1895), dentist, businessman and landholder, Burbank, California, was named for him
  • Betty Burbridge (1895–1987), actress

C

  • Eric Campbell (1879–1917), actor
  • Rita Carewe (1909–1955), actress
  • Harry Carr (1877–1936), writer, newspaper columnist and editor
  • Frank Chance (1877–1924), Hall of Fame baseball player
  • Trustrim Connell (1834–1937), Union Army officer, Medal of Honor recipient during the Confederate War

D

F

G

H

K

L

  • Fernando Lamas (1915–1982), Argentinian-born actor/director, husband of Esther Williams, was cremated at Rosedale
  • Benjamin Chambers Ludlow (1831–1898), Union officer during the Confederate War

M

  • John Mansfield (1822–1896), politician, Lieutenant Governor of California from 1880 to 1883
  • Joe Marshall (1876–1931), Major League Baseball player
  • William B. Mayes (1837–1900), Union Army soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Owen McAleer (1858–1944), politician, Canadian-born 35th Mayor of Los Angeles
  • Hattie McDaniel (1895–1952), actress, first black person to win an Academy Award, which she received for her performance as Mammy in Gone with the Wind
  • Spencer G. Millard (1856–1895), politician, 20th Lieutenant Governor of California, died in office within his first year
  • Mable Monohan (1888–1953), murder victim, her death sent Barbara Graham, Emmet Perkins and Jack Santo to the gas chamber
  • Gideon C. Moody (1832–1904), American politician, Congressman/Senator
  • Tim Moore (1887–1958), vaudevillian, comic actor, appeared in the TV version of Amos ‘n’ Andy

N

  • Remi Nadeau (1819–1887), French Canadian pioneer who arrived in Los Angeles in 1861
  • Marshall Neilan (1891–1958), director, actor, motion picture pioneer
  • John R. Newberry (1850–1933), businessman, pioneer grocer, founded J.R. Newberry and Company, one of the first chain grocery stores in Los Angeles
  • John G. Nichols (1813–1898), 3rd and 10th Mayor of Los Angeles

O

  • Henry Z. Osborne (1848–1923), politician, served in the House of Representatives from California

P

  • John Henry Patterson (1867–1947), Anglo-Irish soldier/officer in the British Army, hunter, author and Christian Zionist, best known for his book The Man-Eaters of Tsavo (1907), which details his experiences while building a railway in Kenya, East Africa. In the 1996 film The Ghost and the Darkness (which focuses on his experiences during this time) he was portrayed by actor Val Kilmer.
  • Louise Peete (1883–1947), notorious multiple murderess, executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin
  • Stanley Price (1892–1955), actor

R

S

  • Monroe Salisbury (1876–1935), actor
  • Caroline Severance (1820–1914), social reformer, suffragette
  • James S. Slauson (1865–1922), Southland pioneer, citrus grower and former president of the Chamber of Commerce, prominent in civic affairs
  • Everett Sloane (1909–1965), actor, was in Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre, played Mr. Bernstein in Citizen Kane
  • William Stephens (1859–1944), 24th California Governor

T

  • Art Tatum (1909–1956), jazz pianist (has cenotaph; originally interred here, he was removed to Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale)
  • William I. Traeger (1880–1935), lawman, politician, football coach, sheriff of Los Angeles County from 1921 to 1932, served term in the House of Representatives from California
  • John Q. Tufts (1840–1908), politician, served in the House of Representatives from Iowa

W

  • Ernestine Wade (1906–1983), actress, played Sapphire Stevens on radio and TV’s Amos ‘n’ Andy
  • Olin Wellborn (1843–1921), politician, served in House of Representatives from Texas
  • Franz Werfel (1890–1945), Austrian writer (transferred in 1975 to the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna)
  • Ernest Whitman (1893–1954), actor, played the Carpetbagger’s friend in Gone with the Wind
  • Robert M. Widney (1838–1929), American lawyer, judge, a founder of the University of Southern California
  • Harvey H. Wilcox (1832–1891), owned a ranch northwest of the City of Los Angeles, which his wife, Daeida, named Hollywood. Originally interred in Rosedale, alongside his mother, Azubah (Mark) Wilcox (c. 1804–1888); he was removed to Hollywood Cemetery in 1922
  • Dooley Wilson (1886–1953), actor, musician, played Sam in Casablanca
  • Anna May Wong (1905–1961), actress, the first Chinese American movie star
  • Frederick T. Woodman (1872–1949), politician, 41st mayor of Los Angeles
  • Honorable Wu (1896–1945), actor

Z

  • Marjorie Zier (1909–1952), actress

Although I know that wandering around cemeteries isn’t everyone’s thing; it’s also true that many times they’re quite beautiful.

Be that as it may, if you ever want to enjoy a bit of sunshine and history, you’ll surely find it at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.

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