Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Outing: Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA

(In which I am a silly newbie at Forest Lawn but have a good time anyway... )

I was feeling a bit blah today but it was beautiful out (81, woo hoo!), so I tell my hubby I'm going over to Forest Lawn Memorial-Park to look for third-ish cousins I recently discovered are buried there and to enjoy the nice day.  Hubby laughs and replies, "You know, not everyone thinks of a cemetery as a great place to cheer up!"  My reply: "Genealogists do!"

While some cemeteries can certainly be dreary, it's rather great to drive not far from your citified concrete, asphalt and stucco neighborhood and enjoy a serene, pastoral setting.  Here's proof (click to enlarge the photos):

 Liberty section, looking more or less NW (top) and S (bottom).

The silly newbie part?  Well, I've lived in Southern California for 21 years, but have rarely visited a cemetery (I have few relatives buried here).  Most of my cemetery research has been done in smallish, easily navigable church cemeteries in Louisiana.  I visited Forest Lawn as a tourist on a family trip once when I was young, so I knew it was big, but WOW, I had forgotten exactly how big!  

Even the map (a PDF is available in search results from the online Interment Locator) didn't get it into my head how big one section could be.  Little Miss Independent just figured: I can follow a map!  Well, yes, I can, but can I find the plots once I find the correct section?  Um, no.  The Liberty section, an older one, is especially large.  I really should have driven right back down the hill/junior mountain to get more specific directions to find the plots of the cousins I'm seeking (Scott and Tullis family members).  But no biggie, I was in the mood to explore, I don't live far from here, and it's not like the cousins are going anywhere! (I did notice the so-unobtrusive-as-to-be-nearly-invisible numbered directional markers and got more info on the way out.  I will definitely get a map of this section itself next visit.)

Ankle brace, anyone? My car's on the far left, if you want to compare the hill's steep grade to the level road.

My cousins are buried on a very steep hill.  Thanks, guys!  I'm not frail or anything, but I have been known to trip over my own two feet when looking at headstones (or a book, or up at architecture) instead of where I'm walking.  Down was harder than up, actually (pine straw can be slippery).  So I made a mental note to take my cell phone next time; thoughts of indelicately crawling up the hill with a twisted ankle, using mini American flags à la rock-climbing pickaxes came to mind.  

Speaking of flags, there were some visible in this section from Veterans' Day. 

We're everywhere!  (Cajuns and/or Acadians, that is.)  Couldn't resist taking a photo--I'm always surprised to see an Acadian name in California.  I don't directly descend from Babineaus, but my great-grandpa Constant Légère married a Babineau/x (Estelle, his first of four wives) in Louisiana.  I'm guessing Albert G. Babineau was Acadian, because most Cajun Babineauxs seem to spell it with an 'x.'  Will have to check to see if I can find out his story.  His wife, presumably, Marie A. Babineau, is buried next to him.

Some markers I just find touching.  Having recently celebrated my first wedding anniversary with my husband, I thought this remembrance of Edwin Henry Grobe was particularly lovely: "Devoted companion through forty years of marriage, he lives in memory ... his love and kindness a constant and continuing inspiration, as they were each day of the many wonderful years we shared."

And oh, to be remembered for the ages as your husband's "best girl."  So sweet.  Will have to add these to Find a Grave, I think.

The western-facing slopes get beautiful golden light in the late afternoon.  Not a bad place to rest eternally, nor spend an hour on a lovely day, n'est-ce pas?


  1. Thank you for this lovely post! My husband's grandparents are both interred in Forest Lawn. We were fortunate enough to have a Find-a-Grave volunteer locate and photograph the site. Seeing the lovely pictures you have posted has been a real treat!

  2. Beautiful post. What is the first name of the Tullis you are researching? I have relatives with that last name

  3. It's ginormous, but really beautiful. When I get better at locating sites will have to volunteer for Find a Grave there, as it's a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

  4. Hi Mary,

    My great-grandmother Etta Cotter Pate's sister Lucy Cotter married John Moses Bailington "Bink" Tullis in Louisiana. Some of their children moved to Calif. in the 1930s or '40s. Siblings Ada Tullis Scott and Arthur Jackson Tullis and some descendants are buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale. Ada's daughter Zola Scott Hardy wrote a Tullis history you can find here: (link is on the right of the home page) - the site has lots of other Tullis/Tullos/Tulles, etc. info too.

    Let me know if you're related to the La. Tullises. I was fortunate enough to meet Ada, Zola, and Ada's sister Salenah on a couple of trips to California when I was younger. Zola gave me portraits of my Cotter gg grandparents, a real treasure.

  5. I love Forest Lawn, but have no one buried there, so I visit movie star graves instead. :D

    Loved the "My Best Girl" marker.

  6. Great post. I don't know of any relatives interred there, but I have always wanted to visit Forest Lawn.

  7. Thanks! It's an oasis of calm amidst not-that-pretty city surroundings.

  8. I just watched a silent comedy film from 1927, called The Kid Brother.

    A good portion of the outdoor scenes were filmed in the blank, rolling, green hills of what we now know as Forest Lawn. The star of the movie, Harold Lloyd, is now buried there.