This hidden gem is Altadena’s artistic treasure and a mesmerizing ode to the dead.
Set below the scenic San Gabriel mountains, this overlooked wonder is home to an array of ornate architectural and artistic delights. It’s also the final resting place for a number of historic Californian figures like George Reeves, Johnny Otis, Charles W. White, Eldridge Cleaver, and Richard Feynman. The multifaceted vicinity is a cemetery, crematory, and mausoleum with a lush arboretum and impressive art collection.
Founded as Mountain View Cemetery 138 years ago, the property owned by the Giddings family is one of the oldest of its kind in Greater Los Angeles. It was initially built as a burial ground for Levi W. Giddings’ daughter but later merged with the mesmerizing 80-plus tomb mausoleum designed and built by Cecil E. Bryan’s on Marengo Avenue.
Bryan, who worked under the pre-eminent American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was considered the master of mausoleums. And this cube-like space featuring 64 different Italian marbles and vivid glass windows by Judson Studios, has been dubbed the “Crown Jewel.”
Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum features intricate arched ceilings, grand frescoes by Norwegian painter Martin Syvertsen, crypts and open-air chapels to spend the day exploring. You’ll be able to wander through an imposing 180-foot-long corridor illuminated with technicolor light pouring in from breathtaking stained-glass windows.
Mountain View Cemetery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mausoleum viewing hours are between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. While photography and visits are welcome, no gravesite decorations should be touched.