The Hollywood Forever cemetery, the final resting place of stars such as Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and Burt Reynolds, is now a historic-cultural monument.
The Los Angeles city council unanimously voted this week to grant the designation to the 123-year-old cemetery, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999. An architectural historian who prepared a report on the cemetery for the city found it “exemplifies significant contributions to the broad cultural, economic or social history”.
“It’s truly a special place on so many levels, both in terms of its architecture, and its landscape, but also in terms of the history that contributed to the development of this place,” Heather Goers, the author of the report, told LAist.
Some buildings and landscape features at the cemetery, which first opened in 1899, date back to 1903, according to the report. The report recommended the cemetery receive the designation because of its association with the “early development of Hollywood … the development of the cemetery industry in Los Angeles, and … the development of Jewish burial facilities in Los Angeles”.
City council members and local officials praised the decision.
“It is a long time coming and well deserved for this incredibly historic site that has transitioned not only from being a place of rest, but to being a place now of entertainment and a public square that can be enjoyed by so many of the Los Angeles public,” Brian Curran, the president of Hollywood Heritage Museum, said during a meeting.
The 53-acre property, regarded by some as one of the most iconic cemeteries in the world, also serves as a public gathering place, with visitors coming to the site to attend movie screenings, do yoga and walk among the ponds and elaborate mausoleums.
Along with stars of Hollywood’s golden age, the cemetery has also been home to colonies of feral cats, who can be spotted resting on gravestones and near mausoleums.