Taking a Tour in the Cemetery

Now that may be one of my least creative titles but I’ve been struggling for the last day or so and I just can’t seem to come up with something witty. So I figured I’d just tell it like it is – I recently attended a tour in a cemetery.

Now, don’t think that I’m some morbid person (what with the dead birds last week and…well…the dead bodies this week). It’s really just a coincidence that these two events happened around the same time. PLUS, the cemetery tour was about the architecture and tile work and history and not about the inhabitants.

Anywho, if you’re still around let’s begin.

Isn’t this beautiful?

And this?
And also this?
This building is in fact a mausoleum located at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Long Beach. It was built in the 20’s and is officially called Sunnyside Mausoleum. I could have seen it at any time but I chose to view it with a tour through LAVA – the Los Angeles Visionaries Association.

First a word about LAVA. It’s basically a group of like minded individuals looking for the heart and soul of Los Angeles. Ugh! I think that is the worst description ever. Just read their About page, it’ll explain things better than I can.

Now a word about me, I love looking for the heart and soul of Los Angeles. So this group is totally up my alley. AND since they offer tours (LOVE) that are often free (DOUBLE LOVE) I am so on board.

So, last week I went on my first tour and I loved it. I had actually driven past the cemetery in the past and could see the mausoleum peeking over the walls. I was totally intrigued and wanted to see what was inside. Well, what was inside did not disappoint. It was beautiful! Stained glass, a tiled rotunda, statuary, and a Foucault Pendulum were but a few of the surprises inside.

interior photos were not allowed but I managed to sneak this one in after the tour was over

And it was so big! Multiple levels, various halls…one could easily get lost. Not a place I’d want to be in after dark, but during the day time it was fascinating.

And the tour itself was pretty great too. It was led by a group of people who had an extensive knowledge of the history and artistry of the building. Not only that, they had a genuine enthusiasm for the subject matter and shared as much information with us as possible.

I was so impressed that I immediately signed up for an upcoming tour of a former chocolate shop in Downtown LA. Can’t wait!

Read all about LAVA’s upcoming events here.

Forest Lawn Memorial Park
1500 E. San Antonio Drive
Long Beach, CA 90807


  1. Rina k6art.com May 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Melanie: now I can see all your beautiful pics on my iPad. Must have been a problem with a filter. You make me want to explore the Southland! Keep up the good work.

  2. Melanie May 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I’m so glad you can see the pics! Thanks for the compliment!

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