On Saturday, June 20, 2009, the Esotouric bus paid a visit to Glendora's remote Fairmount Cemetery, set high on San Felipe Hill, as part of the Reyner Banham Loves LA: Route 66 tour. The dilapidated site is one of the oldest Southern California burial grounds in continuous use, with unmarked graves dating back to the 1840s.
Today it is a strange and mournful place, reached by a precarious path along partially collapsed gravel roads, silent save for the soft hum of the bees who've built a hive in an old tree, and the occasional barking of dogs coming across the valley floor. Monuments in various stages of repair dot the hillside, and at the top, an incongruous grove of citrus trees drop ripe fruit for only squirrels to enjoy.
It's said that Monrovia Growers, the nursery which owned all the surrounding land until they recently sold it off for residential subdivision, planted the fruit trees to undermine the fragile ecostystem of the graveyard. But so far, it abides.
For more about the cemetery, see this cached webpage listing the known burials, this 1994 L.A. Times article about development coming to the hill and the Find A Grave page, which links to short bios of the residents.
Our tour also included a stop at the giddy, Googie Covina Bowl, which in addition to its marvelous vintage lighting fixtures…
currently sports a raven's nest in its landmark sign.
And to the E. Waldo Ward Farm for a tour of the canning rooms. (Below, barbecue sauce ready for shipment, and fourth generation proprietor Jeff Ward.)
To see all photos from the day's adventure, click here.