Michael Jackson is said to be interred in his final resting place today at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. But few, outside of certain circles, know that amidst the beautiful statues and reliquaries stands a lonely Masonic memorial, that is in fact one of the largest sculptures on the grounds.
Once upon a time, Freemasonry was huge in Los Angeles, so big in fact that it managed to carve out a section of the now prestigious cemetery to the stars.
Buried on the grounds of the park are celebrities a plenty including: Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Jean Harlow, Humphrey Bogart, Mary Pickford, Errol Flynn, Spencer Tracy, George Burns & Gracie Allen, W.C. Fields, Tom Mix, Clayton Moore, Sammy Davis Jr., Walt Disney, Red Skelton, Robert Young, Lon Chaney, Nat King Cole, Sid Grauman, Louis L’Amour to name but a few. And for those really paying attention, you may notice a few Masonic Brothers on the list.
There in a quiet and some what isolated corner of the park stands a lone Masonic memorial surrounded by hundreds (maybe thousands) of grave markers decorated not by the signs of their respective faiths but by the Square and Compass. After looking around for a few minutes, it becomes clear that this portion of the cemetery is a Masonic cemetery.
And, its no surprise, the founder of the Memorial Park himself was a brother of the white apron, whose Masonic history is chronicled in Denslow’s 10,000 Famous Freemasons saying of him:
Hubert Eaton – (June 3, 1881 – September 20, 1966) Originator of the “memorial-park” plan for cemeteries, substituting tablets set level with the lawn for tombstones, providing art collections, historical buildings, etc., thereby revolutionizing cemeteries throughout the U.S. He is known as “the builder” of Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Calif., which is noted for its collection of stained glass works of American sculptors and recreations of Last Supper and Calvary. b. June 3, 1881 at Liberty, Mo., he graduated from William Jewell Coll. in Liberty in 1902. A chemist, he has been associated with many of the main mining companies of America including Anaconda, Teziutlan Copper (Mexico), Adaven Mining (Nev.). Raised in Euclid Lodge No. 58, Great Falls, Mont. in 1905 and presently member of Southern California Lodge No. 278, Los Angeles. Member of Liberty Chapter No. 3, R.A.M., Liberty, Mo., Los Angeles Commandery No. 9, K.T., Al Malaikah Shrine of Los Angeles and of Shrine Patrol. Served as junior deacon of his lodge.
In 2007, I was able to spend the afternoon at the memorial with my wife, and during that brief excursion, I was able to explore the reverential memorial, and pay homage to my beloved passed brethren. With so many passed fellow travelers in the shadow of the memorial, and the monument itself, the experience impressed upon me that at one point (in the not to distant past) Freemasonry was HUGE here and really important to these brothers laid to rest around the memorial.
Read more on Masonic Art in Los Angeles.
Rather than go into great detail in describing the memorial, I’ll let the visuals speak for themselves. But I do want to say that despite all the hoopla of the media circus that will surround Michael Jackson’s final resting place, the cemetery of his choosing is also a quiet memorial to Freemasonry and the brothers who have come this way before.
Click the thumbnail for a larger image.