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Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)

Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery is part of the Forest Lawn chain of Southern California cemeteries. It is located at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive in Los Angeles, California, which is on the lower north slope at the far east end of the Santa Monica Mountains range that overlooks North Hollywood and Burbank in the San Fernando Valley from its southeast. The Los Angeles River courses from west to east immediately to the north with the Burbank Walt Disney Studios just beyond. To the west and across the Los Angeles River at its bend there, are the studios of Warner Bros. and Warner Bros. Records.

The Forest Lawn Memorial Parks are recognized and serve as a cultural institution in the Los Angeles regional area. Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills is a park dedicated to the preservation of American history, and hosts high-profile events such as an annual Veterans Day ceremony attended by dignitaries and VIPs. The park features such notable sights as:

  • The Court Of Liberty, which features statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and the Birth of Liberty Mosaic.
  • The Birth Of Liberty Mosaic, America's largest historical mosaic at long and high, contains more than ten million pieces of Venetian glass and depicts twenty-five famous scenes from early America, 1619-1787.
  • Old North Church, a precise replica of Boston's historic church, immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his famous poem "Paul Revere's Ride". The historical rooms contain rare documents and mementos of the colonial period.
  • The Hall Of Liberty American History Museum features a precise duplication of the Liberty Bell, and other exhibits. The museum includes a 1,200 seat auditorium.
  • Monument To Washington, a marble and bronze tribute to America's first president, created by sculptor Thomas Ball. Four of Washington's generals are also honored in the memorial.
  • The Lincoln Terrace features a lifelike bronze statue of the 16th president by Augustus St. Gaudens, flanked by a panoramic mosaic depicting key scenes from Lincoln's eventful life.
  • The Plaza of Mexican Heritage features sculptures created by artist Meliton Salas Rodriguez, of Guadalajara, Mexico. Salas used only hand tools to first quarry, then work the native Mexican stone into precisely scaled, detailed replicas of art works and artifacts that are representative of the Aztec, Huastec, Maya, Mixtec, Olmec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Totonac and Zapotec civilizations that preceded modern Mexican culture. A smooth Olmecan head, an intricate Aztec sun calendar and a sinuous Teotihuacan bas relief are some of the sculptural features of the Plaza that are set off by crushed stone walkways and complemented by groupings of Mesoamerican plants. Nearby, the Museum of Mexican History offers free admission to visitors from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily.

History

Forest Lawn (Glendale) was founded in 1917 by Dr. Hubert Eaton, a firm believer in a joyous life after death, who was convinced that most cemeteries were "unsightly, depressing stone yards," and pledged to create one that would reflect his optimistic beliefs, "as unlike other cemeteries as sunshine is unlike darkness." He envisioned Forest Lawn to be "a great park devoid of misshapen monuments and other signs of earthly death, but filled with towering trees, sweeping lawns, splashing fountains, beautiful statuary, and...memorial architecture..."

Interred or entombed in the cemetery are many famous people and their relatives, particularly from the entertainment industry.

History Before 1917

The Providencia Land and Water Development Company property was used as a location for some early motion pictures. In particular, it was used for the battle scenes in Birth of a Nation. In 1912 Carl Laemmle (IMP) Universal Pictures took over the assets of Nestor Studios and named this area Universal City. The photograph of this area can be seen in Los Angeles Library archives: "A Birds Eye View of Universal City":

Forest Lawn: Hollywood Hills site: "land use" is linked to the Film Industry History of several Movie Studios before 1917.

Forest lawn Hollywood Hills was also known as a tract of land belonging to the Providencia Land and Water Development Company. During this time period, its "land use" is directly linked to history of Nestor Studios, Universal Studios, and Paramount Studios.

The history of Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills (Providencia Ranch) is mentioned in the bibliography of: G.W. Bitzer, David Horsley, Jesse L. Lasky and Carl Laemmle

G.W. Bitzer (as Billy Bitzer). Billy Bitzer: His Story. New York: Farrar Strauss & Giroux, 1973. Bitzer, a camera man for D.W. Griffith He produced a: Hand drawn location map for Birth Of A Nation (Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills)

Carl Laemmle [THE LIFE & ADVENTURES OF CARL LAEMMLE — John Drinkwater] Carl Laemmle moved his Providencia ranch (Nestor Ranch) assets to the new Universal City 1915 The Cowboys, Indians and standing movie on the Nestor where the first assets to be moved to the new Universal City. [Motion Picture World] 1915 Nestor Studio (Universal Studio in Hollywood) ownership transfer to Christie Film Company 1912 - 1915 Universal City (Nestor Ranch) ownership transfer to Jesse L. Lasky Film Company - Famous Players - Paramount

Further References

  • Newspaper articles, Motion Picture World articles, and San Fernando Valley Land companies postcards (advertisements) document the information.
  • D.W. Griffith (Birth of a Nation): David Horsley: Nestor Location Ranch: Carl Laemmle - Universal City 1912, and the transfer of ownership to Jesse L. Lasky.

Other References

Books, blogs and websites feature new material sources from Private and Public archives.

  • Jerry L. Schneider: Collection
  • Motion Picture World Articles
  • Providencia Ranch Los Angeles Library: Digital Archives
  • California Historical Society: USC Digital Archive
  • The Studiotour Members: private family Digital Archives
  • Mark Wanamaker collection
  • Bison Archives
  • Online Archive of California
  • Archival Research Center: University of Southern California
  • Comedian/Magician duo Penn & Teller have reserved a cenotaph in the cemetery to be used as the punchline to a very elaborate card trick, as described in their book, Penn & Teller's How To Play in Traffic. The cenotaph is engraved with a three of clubs, and the phrase, "Is this your card?"

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