I only 3 days in L.A., and every single one was cold and gloomy and rainy. Which, in some cases, can be excellent conditions for visiting a cemetery, so that’s what I did. Santa Monica is famous for its beaches and shopping, but Woodlawn Cemetery didn’t seem that far away, so umbrella in hand, I set off to find it.

The cemetery is fairly large, but manageable. It’s more like a park with big beautiful trees than anything else. Of course, statues are what interest me the most, so I tended to criss-cross the lawn looking for monuments that captured my interest. However, after 2 days of rain the grounds were soaked with water, so I was limited in what I could see and where I could walk.

Like many “younger” cemeteries, and North American cemeteries in general, this cemetery was park-like with lots of grass in between the various graves and headstones. There weren’t many statues, although it was interesting to see some copies of the famous Monteverde Angel of Staglieno Cemetery in Italy. Or were they more of an “homage?”

 

Another thing I found interesting was the numerous grave markers that simply said “husband” or “wife” or “father” or “mother”. No names, no dates, nothing else. In some ways they were more poignant than the more traditional headstones. Of course, the trees were fantastic, and I’m sure would have presented a much more pleasant atmosphere on a blue sky sunny day.

Quality of Monuments: Most of the monuments are of more modern design, with a few statues and other headstones with interesting epitaphs on them.

Cemetery Grounds: Large, park-like, with many trees. The grounds are maintained well and the land is flat and easy to walk on.

Notable Internments: Bob Ross (of “happy trees” fame), Sally Ride (astronaut), Christabel Pankhurst (suffragette)

Visitors: This is very much a modern, working cemetery, far off the tourist trail. There were only a handful of people that I could see over my time visiting the cemetery.

Photographer notes: There are a few statues of interest, and the large trees make for interesting lighting situations.

DETAILS

Cemetery: Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery

Established: 1897

Location: 1847 14th Street (at the corner of Pico Street), Santa Monica, CA

Hours: Cemetery open daily (from 8 a.m.?) until sunset.