LOS ANGELES CEMETERIES
By Allan R. Ellenberger
Last Saturday I attended a tour of Evergreen Cemetery sponsored by the Studio for Southern California History. Led by Steve Goldstein, Joe Walker and Christian Lainez, the tour covered important historical figures at one of Los Angeles oldest cemeteries. Founded on August 23, 1877, Evergreen is also one of the cities largest with 67 acres and more than 300,000 graves.
Saturdays tour guides were (l-r), Christian Lainez, Steve Goldstein and Joe Walker
Many historical and prominent figures are interred at Evergreen with such family names as Bixby, Hollenbeck, Lankershim, Van Nuys and Ralphs. Many former Mayors of Los Angeles are also here as are local African American pioneers.
Hollywood personalities interred at Evergreen, though not in large numbers, include: Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Louise Beavers, and Matthew “Stymie” Beard.
What follows are some of the more well-known historical figures covered on the tour:
Magdalena “May” Chandler, the first wife of Los Angeles Times executive, Harry Chandler. After May’s death, Chandler married the daughter of Times owner, Harrison Gray Otis and is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Jesse Belvin (1932-1960), singer-songwriter who co-wrote the song, ”Earth Angel,” one of the biggest hits of the 1950s for the group, The Penguins.
Isaac Lankershim (1818-1882) and Isaac Newton Van Nuys (1835-1912), real estate developers and founders of the cities of North Hollywood (once called Lankershim) and Van Nuys.
Sam Haskins (1846-1895), the first black Los Angeles Fire Department member killed in the line of duty.
George A. Ralphs (1850-1914), founder of the Ralphs supermarket chain.
Earl Rogers (1869-1922), famed Los Angeles attorney is reportedly the model for the fictional character, Perry Mason. Rogers is the father of journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns.
Cameron Erskine Thom (1825-1915), 24th mayor of Los Angeles and co-founder of the city of Glendale.
William J. Seymour (1870-1922), African American religious leader, founder of the Pentecostal movement and the Azusa Street Revival.
Bridget “Biddy” Mason (1818-1891), former slave, nurse, real estate entrepreneur and co-founder of First African American Episcopal Church. Her grave was originally unmarked until 1989 when Mayor Tom Bradley and members of her church laid the existing tombstone.
Evergreen Cemetery is located at 204 N. Evergreen Avenue
- Book/Film News , Los Angeles Cemeteries | Tags: Adela Rogers St. Johns, Biddy Mason, Cameron Erskine Thom, Christian Lainez, Earl Rogers, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Evergreen Cemetery, First African American Episcopal Church, George A. Ralphs, Harrison Gray Otis, harry chandler, Hollywood Forever, Isaac Lankershim, Isaac Newton Van Nuys, Jesse Belvin, Joe Walker, Louise Beavers, Magdalena Chandler, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Sam Haskins, steve goldstein, Studio for Southern California History, Tom Bradley, William J. Seymour