Lying side by side in the shadow of the Signal Hill oil derricks, Long Beach Municipal Cemetery and Sunnyside Cemetery are both old graveyards, established in the early 1900s. The cemeteries are home to some of Long Beach and Signal Hill’s early residents. They are also filled with lovely gravestones and markers.
According to the City of Long Beach website, “The Municipal Cemetery is located at the northwest corner of Willow Street and Orange Avenue. It was established as early as 1901 when William Willmore, the original developer of what became Long Beach was interred there. According to records, on July 10th, 1900 the City of Long Beach assumed the operation and maintenance of the three and two-thirds acres cemetery from the Long Beach Cemetery Association. The Cemetery was previously known as the SignalHillCemetery, and it is thought to have been established as a burial ground for Bixby Ranch employees. A Bixby mausoleum is located on the property, although no member of the Bixby family is interred there. At some point, the land became part of the Rancho Los Cerritos, and was subsequently purchased by William Erwin Willmore, the entrepreneur credited with founding Willmore City, predecessor to the City of Long Beach…The cemetery has more than a century of history to share with all who are interested…”
I visited the cemeteries a few days ago. Here are some photos from my time there.
This gravestone called “Angel of Sorrows” was photographed in 1938 or ’39 by Ansel Adams. His photo shows more oil derricks in the background. His photo.
Here is a view of the Sunnyside cemetery with the oil derricks in the background. Some of the gravestones in this area dated back to the early part of the 1900s.
There is a portion of Sunnyside reserved for infants and children.
There are quite a few flat headstones in both cemeteries. Some are so old the names and dates are no longer legible. Others bear no name at all, simply the word “Mother” or “Father.” Many of the flat headstones are half buried, broken, or chipped.
This sign in the Municipal area made me smile due to its irony. Definitely no exit for the folks resting here.