In my brief trip to Los Angeles, I did manage to find time to visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I’d visited with my old friends long ago back in the stock photo days of slide film.
Do those photos look dated or what?! That’s what plain old slide film taken in the middle of the day looked like back in the 1990’s.
Well this time I brought my digital camera. First thing I noticed that there was some sort of filming going on in front of the mosoleum. They would take and retake a scene with an old Rolls Royce hearse pulling up along side a beautiful actress and handsome man. There was some sort of signage marking the 74th anniversary of Valentino- some actor I’d never heard of ….
My main goal at the cemetery was to try and do some slightly different shots- of an aerial sort.
Where possible I tried to get something interesting in the foreground.
But I had limited time. Like so many of these excursions, I hope to return and finish what I started sometime soon.
Recently returning to Mountain View Cemetery to photograph I was reminded what a fantastic place it is. For those not familiar, Mountain View Cemetery is not actually in the nearby city of Mountain View (think Google HQ) but in the Oakland Hills about 50km away.
The original layout was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. If you’ve never heard of him, you’ve undoubtedly heard of some of his other landscape architecture projects like Central Park in New York. He was also responsible for part of the Landscape Architecture of UC Berkeley and Stanford’s Campuses.
The winding roads nearing the top of the hill are dotted with crypts in various states of decay. Many of the names hewn in marble will seem vaguely familiar to Bay Area residents. Like Merritt- I think of Lake Merritt not knowing the history of Oakland until researching on the computer: Samuel Merritt was mayor of Oakland. I recall seeing signs for the “Pardee House” driving through Oakland and giggling- turns out he was an early Governor of California. Bechtel comes to mind when thinking of the engineers for the BART tunnel- well there’s a nice crypt for him there too.
And if you get a hankering for ice cream and coffee while walking around that may be more than a coincidence. Other names you may have subconsciously taken in include Ghirardelli, the “chocolate king” and Folger of Folger’s coffee fame. In fact right after photographing the Ghirardelli crypt I opted to take my family to Ghirardelli Square for ice-cream.
While technically not part of the Mountain View Cemetery, the Chapel of the Chimes right outside the front gate is worth a visit. This crematory and columbarium was partially designed by the wildly popular female architect Julia Morgan, famous for Hearst Castle, Asilomar, the Berkeley City Club etc.
Well worth a visit!
(Please enjoy the photos – but don’t copy them and use them elsewhere- you can find licensing information on my image library page at SiliconValleyStock.com)