A Brief History

Woodlawn Cemetery and Mausoleum has been serving the community for over 100 years. It is wholly owned and operated by the City of Santa Monica - one of the few municipally-owned cemeteries in California. The city purchased the cemetery in 1897 and the mausoleum in 1972. It is considered one of the city’s most important historical resources.

Woodlawn’s historic mausoleum, centered within the cemetery grounds, captures the architecture of early Spanish California. Built in 1922, it is one of the first public mausoleums constructed in California. The corridors feature exquisite imported marble and granite from Italy. The mausoleum’s magnificent stained glass windows are breath taking. The rotunda walls of the Mausoleum are adorned with large colorful tapestries that were painted by famous artist Hugo Ballin, who is interred here at Woodlawn Cemetery.

In addition to the significant architectural features of the property, Woodlawn is the eternal home of some of Southern California’s most well-known historical figures. They include actor and preservationist Leo Carillo, who in his capacity serving on California’s Beach and Parks Commission played a key role in acquiring such gems as the Hearst Castle and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. As an actor he is possibly best known for playing The Cisco Kid’s mischievous sidekick “Pancho”. Other notable actors interred here include Glenn Ford, known as one of Hollywood’s best actors who had roles in Superman, The Big Heat and The Blackboard Jungle (opposite Sidney Poitier); Irene Ryan (The Beverly Hillbillies); Hal Smith (The Andy Griffith Show); Ted Bessell (Gomer Pyle); Doug McClure (Roots) and Paul Henreid (Casablanca). In addition, a number of political legends reside at Woodlawn, including Jesse Unruh, who served as a State Assemblyman, Speaker of the Assembly, and as State Treasurer and authored the historic Unruh Civil Rights Act of 1959 and the pro-consumer Unruh Credit Regulation Act; Abbot Kinney, founder of Venice, California, our neighbor to the South; Eugene Biscailuz, former Sheriff of L.A. County and first Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol; and well-loved Santa Monica Mayor Herb Katz.





















Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery.
City of Santa Monica © 2014

Woodlawn Cemetery, Mausoleum & Mortuary (FD# 2101) · 1847 14th Street, Santa Monica, CA · (310) 458-8717 · TTY (310) 917-6626