Mountain View Cemetery's Famed Mausoleum - Atlas Obscura

Altadena, California

Mountain View Cemetery's Famed Mausoleum

Discover the treasures and resting places of historic Californians behind the doors of the crypt you've likely seen in a movie or two.

Mountain View Cemetery is one of Los Angeles' most beautiful and undiscovered wonders, positioned underneath the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains and home to many of California's historic figures. It's also home to one of the most recognized crypts in the country, the "Crown Jewel" of mausoleums.  

Join Atlas Obscura for a closer look at the cemetery's famed Mountain View Mausoleum with local historian Nick Smith and funeral director, film actor, and author of Confessions... of an L.A. Funeral Director Denny Dormody. The event will begin in the mausoleum chapel, where Nick and Denny will share some of the history of Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum, including its 180-foot fresco painting depicting scenes from the Bible. From there, you'll explore the main corridor, the new radiance hall, crypts and niches aplenty, and even a bit of the cemetery on our walk over to the smaller mausoleum, which sits across the street. Along the way Nick and Denny will point out some of the famous individuals and civil war heroes interred in the cemetery. 

Afterwards, you'll have the unique opportunity to view the prop/faux preparatory room, which was created for the sole purpose of film shoots depicting mortuary preparation. Surprisingly realistic and authentic in appearance, the room features a prep table, sinks, and even a mock freezer unit that opens. The enormous cemetery and grounds will be open post-tour for further (self-led) exploration. 


  • Park in the mausoleum parking lot (2300 Marengo Ave) and meet in chapel. More details will be provided prior to the event.
  • Family friendly, ages 12+. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
  • The mausoleum is more than 90 years old, as is much of its furniture. Please act in a respectful and careful manner.
  • Photos are allowed, but please do not take pictures of the names of those resting at Mountain View.
  • Wear comfy shoes and expect to be standing or walking for at least 90 minutes. There is a bit of walk (two to four blocks) from the mausoleum over to the cemetery grounds and the faux prep room. You can drive from one site to the next, if need be. 
  • There is a flight of stairs you must ascend to get to the fake/faux prep room. 
  • Unfortunately, the grounds/facilities are not completely handicapped-accessible. Please inquire if you have specific questions on this topic. 


Email Benjamin Harmon at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.