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Calvary Cemetery (Los Angeles)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Calvary Cemetery
Calvary Cemetery Chapel.jpg
4201 Whittier Boulevard,
East Los Angeles, California, U.S.
CountryUnited States
Coordinates34°01′42″N 118°10′36″W / 34.02833°N 118.17667°W / 34.02833; -118.17667
TypeRoman Catholic
Owned byRoman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Size137 acres
Find a GraveCalvary Cemetery

Calvary Cemetery is a Roman Catholic cemetery that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles runs in the community of East Los Angeles. It is also called "New Calvary Cemetery" because it succeeded the original Calvary Cemetery (on north Broadway), over which Cathedral High School was built.


Old Calvary

When Los Angeles was originally surveyed and mapped under the leadership of Gen. Edward Ord in 1849, its graveyard was at the upper end of Eternity Street. At the lower end of Eternity was the first church in Los Angeles, the Placita. In between lay a part of town flanked by adobe houses, citrus trees, and Coast Live Oaks suitable for traditional funeral processions escorting believers to eternity. The land allotted to the cemetery lay between a creek a half block north of College Street and the toma (intake of the Zanja Madre) beyond the northern edge of town. That cemetery was named Calvary.

All the important magnates of the country around Los Angeles were buried at Calvary, such as Gen. Andrés Pico, the hero of the Battle of San Pascual, and Don Abel Stearns, a man of many ranchos. The ravine sloping down from the west took its name; it was called "Cemetery Ravine" (now Chavez Ravine, home of Dodger Stadium). Later, a Protestant cemetery for Los Angeles was laid out atop Fort Hill, where Grand Arts High School and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels are now.[1]

As Los Angeles swelled with settlers, so also did old Calvary Cemetery grow in size and importance, and a chapel was built. Large in scale for the desert Southwest of Southern California, that chapel was dedicated to the memory of a patron, Andrew Briswalter, who died in 1885. When conditions led to the founding of a new, even bigger cemetery on the other side of the Los Angeles River in 1896—in East Los Angeles—the property of the historic cemetery was put to other uses. At the time, many Italians began moving into the north side of Los Angeles, where they founded a new church on north Spring Street. So many Italians moved in, that the upper part of town became known as "Little Italy." As it grew, a new, more permanent church building was sought, so parishioners bought the chapel of old Calvary Cemetery. The first child was baptized there in September 1904. The chapel was formally established as a church when Fr. A. Bucci dedicated the chapel of the old cemetery as St. Peter's Church on July 4, 1915.[2]

Old Calvary's historic chapel survives today in the parish and buildings of St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church, 1039 N Broadway.[3] Historic old Calvary Cemetery was built over and much of it is now occupied by Cathedral High School.

Current plots

The current site across the river and uphill, measuring 137 acres, was dedicated in 1896. All Souls Chapel was built on the grounds in 1902, and was dedicated on All Souls' Day of that same year. Bishop George Thomas Montgomery offered a Solemn Pontifical Mass on a temporary altar at the site, and afterwards presided at the setting in place of the cornerstone. It was designed as a replica of the parish church of St. Giles in the rural town of Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, in England. That church is believed to have been the setting of the famed 18th-century poem Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. The chapel became one of the most visited places of worship in Southern California after its opening.[4] All Souls Chapel is now used primarily for burial services.[5]

The Main Mausoleum, with a new chapel, was built in 1936. It was designed by architect Ross Montgomery.[6][7] Two additional mausoleums, Our Lady's Garden and Gethsemane, have since been built. The cemetery has its own chaplain and daily Mass is offered in the chapel of the Main Mausoleum.[4]

Notable burials

See also


  1. ^ During the recent expansion of Grand Arts, bodies were uncovered and buried elsewhere.
  2. ^ "History of St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church in Los Angeles, the Early Years". Archived from the original on 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  3. ^ "St. Peter's Italian Catholic Church". Archived from the original on 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  4. ^ a b "Calvary Cemetery". Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 2014-08-03. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Churches Worth Driving To: All Souls Chapel, Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles". California Catholic Daily. November 8, 2012. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  6. ^ Online Archive of California: Ross Montgomery
  7. ^ John Chase, Glitter Stucco and Dumpster Diving, Verso, 2004, p. 61
  8. ^ Find a Grave
  9. ^ "Mass to Be Said Friday for Actor Stepin Fetchit". The Los Angeles Times. November 21, 1985. p. A30.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 April 2022, at 17:51
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