at Forest Lawn Cemetery
Inside Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale you’ll find a small section that serves as the final resting place of infants and children. It’s known, of course, as Babyland.
Los Angeles has no shortage of cemeteries, but one of the best-known is Forest Lawn. The original location in Glendale has been in business since 1906 when it was founded as a not-for-profit cemetery. Today there are now 11 locations throughout Southern California all operated by the Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries corporation.
Forest Lawn Glendale is the final resting place for 335,000 people, including Walt Disney, Carole Lombard, Jimmy Stewart, James Whale (director of Frankenstein), George Woolf (the jockey who rode Seabiscuit), and William Mulholland (the man who engineered the infamous Los Angeles Aqueduct).
The park covers 300 acres (nearly a half-square mile) and is sectioned off into different areas with precocious names like Graceland, Borderland, Vesperland, Resthaven, Victory, Acacia, and — in what could be considered the saddest part of the park — Babyland.
A Place for the Children
From the late 1930s through the mid-1940s, this small parcel of land in the park’s southern corner was where infants and children, ranging in ages from one day to about 10 years old, were buried.
These resting children are watched over by a bronze statue of a cherub who stands, arms spread wide to offer a hug of comfort, over a plaque inscribed with a poem written by cowboy poet Earl Alonzo (E.A.) Brininstool (who’s interred not too far away in the park’s Acacia section).
The poem is untitled but starts a line at the top that reads: Dedicated to the Earthly Home of Faith, Hope, and Love — A Mother’s Heart. The 16-line poem itself is a maudlin description of unlocking the sacred memory of a departed child — not exactly the sort of stuff one would expect from the gent who wrote Trail Dust of a Maverick: Verses of Cowboy Life, the Cattle Range and Desert.
Shaped Like a Mother’s Heart
Standing next to Babyland, you many not realize that the entire plot is shaped like an elongated heart. You can kind of get a sense of this while standing at Babyland’s dimpled northern side, the full shape can easily be seen from above.
After 1945 or so, Babyland was full. Infants and children were then buried at the nearby Lullabyland, a larger (but still heart-shaped) plot of land. It also features the same Brininstool poem etched into a large marble slab.
From Babyland to Lullabyland
Babyland at Forest Lawn Cemetery
- Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1712 S Glendale Ave., Glendale
- GPS Coordinates: 34.1227, -118.24399 [ Google Maps ]
- what3words: ///food.values.listed
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