Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery


Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery

Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 10621 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood, California.

The cemetery has a special section called the Portal of Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation that is the final resting place for a number of aviation pioneers--barnstormers, daredevils and sundry architects of aviation. There is a memorial to Amelia Earhart and others, honoring their accomplishments.

Among those interred here are some celebrities from the entertainment industry.

The shrine, with a colorful tile dome and female figures stretching their arms to the heavens, originally was built as an impressive entrance to Valhalla Memorial Park cemetery. It was named for the palace of Odin, the Norse god of slain heroes.

Founding

Valhalla was founded in 1923 by two Los Angeles financiers, John R. Osborne and C.C. Fitzpatrick. The Spanish Mission Revival entrance structure was designed by architect Kenneth McDonald Jr. For the decorative stone castings, McDonald hired Italian-born sculptor Federico A. Giorgi, who had created 30-foot-tall statues of elephants and lions for the 1917 epic film "Intolerance" and crafted the exterior of downtown's Million Dollar Theater. The gateway to the new cemetery cost $140,000.

The rotunda was dedicated March 1, 1925, with a concert by English contralto Maude Elliott. Picnickers spread blankets on the surrounding grassy expanse between three reflecting pools and flat cemetery markers, which were a new concept at the time. It became a tourist attraction and was used for concerts that were broadcast over radio station KELW by station owner Earl L. White. But just five months after the dedication, Osborne and Fitzpatrick were convicted of fraud. They had sold the same burial plots repeatedly--as many as 16 times--and netted a profit of $3 million to $4 million, according to Los Angeles Times stories of the era. They were fined $12,000 each and sentenced to 10 years in prison but served less than half the sentence.

tate Control

The cemetery was taken over by the state. It's unclear how long the state owned the 63-acre cemetery, but Pierce Brothers bought it in 1950 and, within two years, closed the rotunda to vehicle traffic and moved the entry to the cemetery from Valhalla Drive in Burbank to Victory and Cahuenga boulevards in North Hollywood. There, they opened a two-story office and mortuary.

On Dec. 17, 1953 -- the 50th anniversary of Orville and Wilbur Wrights' 12-second powered hop at Kitty Hawk--the rotunda was rededicated as the Portal of the Folded Wings. During the ceremony, the cremated remains of Walter R. Brookins were interred there. Brookins, the first aviator to take a plane to an altitude of a mile, had been the Wrights brothers' first civilian student.

When sculptor Giorgi died in 1963, he was buried outside the structure, near his masterpiece. Gillette was also buried outside, near the shrine he helped found.

Airplane Crash

On July 18, 1969, a small twin-engine Piper Navajo plunged into the dome. The pilot and a passenger were killed; one passenger, Dale Black, miraculously survived. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on pilot error. Investigators found faulty spark plugs, carbon deposits in engine cylinder heads and improperly secured cargo. The crash was immortalized in Ripley's Believe It or Not. Repairs to the building cost $70,000.

Quake

The cube-like shrine building was damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake but restored and rededicated in 1996. Two years later, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

ale of Property

In 1958, Pierce Brothers sold its family-owned chain of Southern California mortuaries and cemeteries to Texas financier Joseph L. Allbritton, who sold off 20 acres of Valhalla for development. In 1991, the cemeteries and mortuaries were acquired by Service Corp. International in Houston, but the Pierce Brothers sign remains at Valhalla.

Pioneers Resting Place

Beneath the memorial tablets rest the remains of other aviation pioneers, including:

* Augustus Roy Knabenshue (1876-1960), who in 1904 became America's first dirigible pilot. He also founded a dirigible passenger service, from Pasadena to Los Angeles, in 1912.

* Evelyn "Bobbi" Trout (1906-2003), who held numerous records for endurance, mileage and altitude.

* James Floyd Smith (1884-1956), who built and flew his own plane in 1912 and invented the free-type manually operated parachute for the Army in 1918.

* Hilder Florentina Smith (1890-1977), who became a parachute jumper in 1914. Two years later, she became the first female pilot to fly out of the bean patch that later became Los Angeles International Airport. She was married to James Floyd Smith.

* Matilde Moisant, the second American woman to earn her pilot's license -- two days after her friend, journalist Harriet Quimby. In 1911, Moisant let Quimby be first because Quimby needed the extra acclaim: She wrote about air races and the thrill of flight.

* John B. Moisant (1868-1910), who designed and built the first metal plane. Matilde Moisant was his sister.

List

Note: this is a partial list. Use the following alphabetical links to find someone.

A

*Fred Abbott, Major League baseball player
*Bertrand Blanchard Acosta, aviation pioneer
*Eddie Acuff, actor
*Luis Alberni, actor
* Betty Alden (1891-1948), actress
*Mary Alden, actress
* Harry Antrim (1884-1967), actor (unmarked)
*Johnny Arthur, actor
*Edwin August, actor, director, screenwriter

B

* Frankie Bailey (1859-1953), actress
* Lee Baker (1875-1948), actor
*Jill Banner, actress
* Lyle Barton (1889-1971), actress
*Lionel Belmore, actor, director
*Bea Benaderet, actress
*Belle Bennett, actress
* Steve Benton (1896-1976), actor
*Willie Best, actor
*Clem Bevans, actor
*John G. Blystone, director
*Stanley Blystone, actor
*Symona Boniface, actress (unmarked)
* Marshall Bradford (1885-1971), actor (unmarked)
*Al Bridge, actor
* Shirley Ann Bridgeford (1933-1958), second murder victim of Harvey Glatman
* Buster Brodie (1885-1948), actor
*Walter Richard Brookins, aviation pioneer
* Charles D. Brown (1887-1948), actor
*Arthur Quirk Bryan, comedian, voice actor
*Nana Bryant, actress
* Paul E. Burns (1881-1967), actor
*Frederick Burton, actor

C

*Georgia Caine, actress
* Colin Campbell (1883-1966), actor
*Naomi Childers, actress
* Ken Christy (1894-1962), actor
* Steve Clark (1891-1954), actor
*Mae Clarke, actress
*Chester Clute, actor
*Edmund Cobb, actor
*John Collum, actor
*Baldwin Cooke, comedic actor who worked with Hardy's co-star Stan Laurel
*Melville Cooper, actor
* Tex Cooper (1876-1951), actor
*Jim Corey, actor
*Gino Corrado, actor
*Aneta Corsaut, actress
*Jane Cowl, actress
*Richard Crane, actor
*Nick Cravat, actor

D

* Richard Day (1896-1972), motion picture set designer
*Curly Joe DeRita, actor,comedian, member of the "Three Stooges"
*Douglass Dumbrille, film and TV actor

E

*Amelia Earhart, first female American pilot
*Cliff Edwards, actor, voice of Jiminy Cricket
* Robert Elliott (1879-1951), actor

F

* Morgan Farley (1898-1988), actor
* Karl Marx Farr Sr. (1909-1961), actor
*Eddie Firestone, actor

G

*Lita Grey
*Ceferino Garcia, boxer

H

*Jonathan Hale, actor
*Florence Halop, actress
*Lois Hamilton, model, author, actress, artist, aviatrix
*Mahlon Hamilton, actor
*Oliver Hardy,actor,comedian, co-star of Laurel and Hardy
*Leigh Harline, composer

J

K

*Fred Kelsey, pioneer actor
*Bert Kinner, aviation pioneer
*Theodore Kosloff, actor, choreographer, ballet dancer

L

*Robert Lowery, stage, film, and TV actor

M

*George Melford, actor, director
* Paul Mickelson, musician and composer of religious songs
*John Moisant, aviation pioneer
*Matilde Moisant, pioneer aviatrix
* Mittie Morris, social reformer
*Mae Murray, actress
* Sam McKim (1924-2004), actor, Disney Imagineer

N

*Buddy Noonan, producer, The Roving Kind syndicated TV series
* Fayard Nicholas, dancer

O

P

*Virginia Pearson, pioneer film actress
* Eddy Polo, actor, stuntman, the first to parachute off the Eiffel Tower

Q

R

*"Slapsie Maxie" Rosenbloom (1904-1976), champion boxer, actor

* Hilder Smith, pioneer aviatrix and parachutist
*Madame Sul-Te-Wan, pioneering African-American film actress
* Mohi Sobhani
*Charles Stevens, Native American actor
*Barbara Lois Smith 1933-1965

T

*Alice Terry, actress
*Lyle Tayo, actress
* Elinor Troy (1916-1949), actress

U

V

*Alberta Vaughn, actress
*Martha Vickers, actress

W

*George Wagner, aka "Gorgeous George", flamboyant professional wrestler
*Rudd Weatherwax, renowned animal trainer
* Frederick Worlcok (1886-1973), actor

X

Y

* Chief Yowlachie (birth name: Daniel Simmons) (1891-1966), Native American actor who was born in Yakima, Washington

Z

ee also

*List of United States cemeteries
*List of famous cemeteries (non-US)

Map


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