Whittier, California is home to Rose Hills Memorial Park. Service Corporation International presently owns and operates it (formerly, Loewen Group). It claims to be North America’s largest cemetery.
Whittier Heights Mausoleum, also known as “Mausoleum #1” or “The Little Mausoleum,” was built in 1917 as the second public mausoleum in California (the first being at Anaheim Cemetery in Anaheim) and depicts a feeling of early California architecture with its Spanish Renaissance influence.
Four garden mausoleums (Terrace of Memories, Court of Eternal Light, Mausoleum of the Valley, and Lakeview Mausoleum) were built over time.
El Portal de la Paz (Doorway of Peace) was consecrated in 1930 as part of the cemetery’s initial expansion scheme. Rose Hills’ second mausoleum, complete with an enclosed outside garden and fountain, recalls California’s early Spanish Mission era. The corridors are named after California missions.
The Buddhist Columbarium: The largest Buddhist pagoda in the United States, it was built in 1999 on 2.5 acres (10,000 m2) at the highest point of Rose Hills. The three-story edifice, which houses 21,000 niches for cremated ashes, is supported by crimson pillars and golden glazed tiles that resemble the architecture of ancient Chinese palaces. The pagoda is linked to the Hsi Lai Temple of Fo Guang Shan in Hacienda Heights.
Rainbow Chapel, originally known as “Rose Chapel,” was built in 1942 as an example of early California Mission architecture. This chapel has a maximum seating capacity of 90 persons with big windows overlooking gardens. It is located behind the Mausoleum of El Portal de la Paz.
Hillside Chapel, which opened in 1956, is a modern diamond-shaped edifice surrounded by a garden. The interior was designed to resemble a sunrise with its rose-colored skylight and 22-foot (6.7 m)-high windows. Hillside Chapel can accommodate up to 182 people. This structure is said to have excellent acoustics.
Sky Church, another glass structure erected in 1956, was destroyed in the Whittier earthquake of 1987.
The Memorial Chapel is distinguished by three tall white spires. It was finished in 1964 as a memorial to John D. Gregg, the son of Rose Hills founder Augustus Gregg and President of Rose Hills from 1950 to 1959. The Memorial Chapel has a capacity of 192 people.
SkyRose Chapel is located on a central hilltop with views of the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles Skylines, and Sycamore Valley. SkyRose Chapel can accommodate 300 guests. The structure has three floors, the upper of which houses a bespoke Quimby pipe organ, one of the largest in the Los Angeles area. The basement level houses an 11,200-square-foot tomb. The mausoleum’s passageways are named after the trees used in its construction.
A Japanese garden with a 2-acre Lake of the Roses (0.81 hectare) and an Azumaya tree (meditation house).
Next Point of Interest: Jonathan Bailey House