“They lived in Burbank, but there wasn’t a cemetery close by at the time, so they buried him at Grand View.”
The entire family was heartbroken and they visited the grave regularly.
Shermer, who was born several years after her cousin died, has fond memories of those childhood trips to the grave site.
“I would go around and read the names of some of the children buried in the children’s section,” she said. “I knew a surprising number of family names.
“I loved the statue of the angel holding a little baby in her arms. It was like a miniature Forest Lawn in those days. The cemetery was very well kept then. We all had our driving lessons there. We had to go around the palm tree in the middle of the cemetery.”
When Grand View Cemetery was established in the mid-1880s, it was one of the few burial grounds in the area. (Forest Lawn opened in 1906.) However, there aren’t too many tombstones dating back to those early years. Its heyday began in the 1920s, when Len C. Davis purchased it and set the tiny country graveyard on an expansion course.
Davis renamed it Grand View Memorial Park and added a 40-foot entrance arch, complete with electric lights, which spanned the entrance on what is now Glenwood Road. Made of stucco, the arch was painted in the same rose colors that decorated the interior of the new office building. Davis also took out plans for a residence and a chapel.
But his most impressive accomplishment was the landscaping. Most of the evergreen cypress trees that had originally been planted were taken out, and the bare land was formed into an amphitheater where 1,000-plus plots were laid out. More than 800 camphor and 200 bottle trees were planted to shade the graves.