Birth of a Cemetery
by: John F. Llewellyn

Contents

Preface
Introduction


1. Beginnings
Los Angeles in the Early 1900s | The Evolution of Cemeteries | Early Cemeteries in Los Angeles | The Men with a Plan | Land Purchase | Depot Street | Ready to Start


2. Setting Up the Cemetery
Forming Forest Lawn Cemetery Association | Rules and Regulations | Forest Avenue Right-of-Way | Refinancing the Mortgage | Preparing for Burials | Cemetery Lot Sales Begin


3. Financial Challenges
Sluggish Sales | Undertaker Referrals | Cash Shortage | Demise of a Salesman | Accounting Concerns | Lockwood Resigns | Charles Morgan Arrives | Perpetual Care Fund and Cash Flow Problems | Collections on Accounts | New Salesman | Auto Expenses | Heath and Blain | The Llewellyn Family | Recruiting John Llewellyn


4. Trouble for Treadwell
The Wheeler-Dealer | Stock Ownership Dispute | Concerns about Blain | Concerns about Finances | A Future Successor | Chattel Mortgage | Compensation for Wells | Wells Replaces Treadwell


5. Billy Takes the Cure
A Possible Replacement | Farewell to Billy | Mrs. Blain’s Requests | Court Petition | Resolution


6. Attempted Coup
TL&I Appoints Morgan | Morgan Wants More | Making His Move | Reversing the Coup | Heath’s Overpayments


7. The Partition Suit
Background | Suits and Countersuits | Thornton Joins the Legal Team | Deed Discovery | Pursuing Settlements | The Foreign Corporation Argument | Anticipating a Loss | Court Ruling | Dividing the Property | TL&I Files Appeal | The Aftermath


8. Wells Makes His Mark
Gaining Visibility | Protests Over Expansion | The Hillside Sign Controversy | A Rival Sign | The Price of Newspaper Ads | Designing Letterhead | Moving the Llewellyn Monument | Calling on Undertakers | Auto Expenses | Avoiding Annexation | Tropico Becomes Independent Municipality (1911) | Relations with Other Cemeteries


9. Settlement with Treadwell
Back Pay | Promissory Notes | Allegations of Illegal Loans | Settlement Negotiations


10. Eaton and Sims Arrive
Charles Sims | Correspondence with Wells | Hubert Eaton | Getting to California | The Selling Contract | American Securities Company | Preparing to Sell | Other Cemetery Opportunities


11. Property Management Challenges
Street Improvements | Moving the Arch | Other Property Issues | The End of Burt Richardson





 

12. Startup Tensions

Settling Accounts | Handling Installment Payments | Monthly Letters | More Contract Disputes | Strained Relationships | Pop’s Compromise | Eaton Contemplates Parting Ways | Proposed Contract Changes | The End of a Partnership | Sims Moves On

13. Trying to Cooperate

Continuing Conflicts | Eaton Wants to Buy TL&I | 1914 Finances | Perpetual Care Funds Bill | More Division Disputes | Commission Negotiations | Cancellations and Trade-Ins | Another Extension | 1915 Audit Report | Slow Progress

 

14. Expanding Sales Efforts

Spreading the Word | Lot Repurchase Offer | Insurance Ideas | Mausoleum Pros and Cons | Getzendanner Resigns | Possible New Selling Agent | Eaton’s Sales System | Recruiting and Training Salesmen | Sales Letters | Managing Ineffective Salesmen | Contacts with Other Cemeteries

 

15. Eaton the Entrepreneur

Selling Residential Lots | Scouting for a New Cemetery | Planning a New Company | Taking the Next Steps | Encountering a Roadblock | Tension with Glora | Proposed Stock Deals | Eva Blain’s Shares | Protecting Eaton’s Selling System | AS&F Formed | Proposal from Frank Hamilton | Preparations for Merging | Merritt Llewellyn’s

 

Stock16. Building for the Future

The Builder’s Creed | Sharing His Vision | Time to Build | Pratt’s Report on Plans | Choosing a Crematory Manufacturer | Mausoleum Sales Manager | Design Decisions | The Grand Tour | Construction Decisions | Operating Practices | Annexation and Building Codes | Church Nears Completion | Crematory Publicity | Mausoleum Construction | Church Dedication

 

17. Consolidation and New Roles

Consolidation into AS&F | Dissolution Procedures | Pratt’s Plan for New Roles | Borrowing from the Perpetual Care Fund | Where’s the Auto? | Purchase of Bedford Property | New Agreements | TL&I Dissolution | A Boom in Burials

 

18. Eaton Versus Wells

Illusion and Reality | Eaton’s Proxy Votes | Lot Owners Meeting | Special Meeting | Salvos and Volleys | Farewell to Wells

 

19. Problem Solved

Turmoil and Tension | Resolving the Issues | Forming Forest Lawn Memorial-Park Association | Looking Ahead | A New FLMPA | Solution Found

 

Epilogue

 

Appendix A. Major Events Timeline

Appendix B. FLCA Certificate of Incorporation

Appendix C. 1906 FLCA Rules

Appendix D. “The Reasons Why”

Appendix E. Little Church Dedication Speech

Appendix F. Directors & Officers 1905-1926

Notes

Bibliography

Index

About the Author

Architect T. Paterson Ross had done some work for Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, CA. Occaisionally, Ross would make sketches of structures at Cypress Lawn and send them to Forest Lawn as suggestions for construction. Drawing at left is detail of flower shelves of Cypress Lawn's receiving vault.