Angelus Rosedale Cemetery
1831 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90007
Telephone: (323) 734-3155
Founded: June 9, 1884
Size: 65 acres
Number of interments: An estimated 100,000
Open: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
In 1884, when Los Angeles was a small city of under 30,000 people, Rosedale Cemetery was founded on 65 acres of land facing Washington Boulevard between Normandie Avenue and Walton and Catalina Streets.
Designed as a lawn cemetery with beautiful trees and flowering shrubs, Rosedale now has mostly upright headstones, interspersed by some beautiful sculptures and family mausoleums. The cemetery also sports several pyramid crypts, including one for George Shatto, who first developed Catalina Island as a resort.
America’s first crematory west of the Rocky Mountains — and only the second crematory in the country — opened at Rosedale in 1887. By 1913, it had already performed almost 2400 cremations.
Rosedale was the first cemetery in Los Angeles to accept all races and creeds. Among those buried there is Hattie McDaniel, the first Black woman ever to sing on the radio. While her cinematic career spanned over 300 movies, she is best remembered for playing Scarlett’s Mammy in Gone with the Wind — a role that earned her the distinction of becoming the first African-American recipient of an Academy Award.
Ms. McDaniel’s last wish had been to be buried at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery amongst the glittering stars of Hollywood. Because of the color of her skin, she was rejected. Her very modest headstone lies near the gates of Angelus Rosedale. (Hollywood Forever put up a cenotaph to her memory in 1999. The story is here.)
Other permanent residents include Tod Browning, director of the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula; Eliza Donner Houghton, who survived the Donner Party’s winter in the Sierras at the age of 3 and went on to marry a Congressman; Maria Rasputin, daughter of the mad Russian monk; Harry Kellar, a stage magician whose performances influenced Houdini; various Los Angeles pioneers, as well as mayors, governors, and politicians; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American movie star. She appeared in Douglas Fairbanks’s Thief of Baghdad and with Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express.
The Angelus Funeral Home on Crenshaw purchased the graveyard in 1993. At that time, it was renamed Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.
With its photogenic lines of palm trees, Angelus Rosedale has appeared in the Clive Barker film Lord of Illusions, Nightmare on Elm Street 4: the Dream Master and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, as well as many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, and Six Feet Under.
Every autumn, the West Adams Heritage Association presents a cemetery tour featuring costumed actors speaking as people buried in the cemetery. Each tour is different. Watch for this year’s tour here.
Angelus Rosedale website
Lots of historical information
Google Maps virtual tour
Books I’ve reviewed that reference Angelus Rosedale:
Other graveyards of the Hollywood stars on Cemetery Travel: