Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation

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Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation and Museum
Folded Wings Shrine portal.jpg
Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation is in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Location3898 Valhalla Drive,[2][3]
Burbank, California
ArchitectKenneth McDonald, Jr.
Architectural styleSpanish/Mission Revival
NRHP reference #98000246[1]
Added to NRHPMarch 18, 1998
Marker plaques inside the portal
Amelia Earhart Tribute at Portal of the Folded Wings; note error in birth date.

The Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation is in Los Angeles, California. The shrine is a 75-foot-tall (23 m) structure of marble, mosaic, and sculpted figures and is the burial site for fifteen pioneers of aviation. It was built in 1924 as the entrance to Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery. Aviation enthusiast James Gillette was impressed by the rotunda's close proximity to the airport and Lockheed Aircraft Company. He conceived a plan to use the structure as a shrine to aviation and worked to that end for two decades. It was dedicated in 1953 by aviation enthusiasts who wanted a final resting place for pilots, mechanics, and other pioneers of flight.[4][5]

Dedicated to the honored dead of American aviation on the 50th anniversary of powered flight, December 17, 1953, by Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker USAF (retired). Beneath the memorial tablets in this sacred portal rest the cremated remains of famous flyers who contributed so much to the history and development of aviation. The bronze plaques upon the marble walls memorialize beloved Americans who devoted their lives to the advancement of the air age. Administered under the auspices of the BrookinsLahmWright Aeronautical Foundation, this shrine stands as a lasting tribute.

On May 27, 1996, it was rededicated by Dr. Tom Crouch, Chairman of the Aeronautics Department at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.[6][7]


  • Bertrand Blanchard Acosta (1895–1954), co-pilot with Admiral Richard Byrd in 1927
  • Jimmie Angel (1899–1956), discoverer of Angel Falls – his ashes were later removed and scattered over the falls.[8]
  • Walter Richard Brookins (1889–1953), flew for the Wright brothers
  • Mark Mitchell Campbell (1897–1963), stunt pilot and aircraft designer
  • John Franklin Bruce Carruthers (1889–1960), Chaplain of the Portal of the Folded Wings and air historian. His epitaph reads: "At the grave, when my warfare is ended. Though no flowers emblazon the sod. May a prayer mark the good I intended. Leaving all decoration to God."
  • Richard Peter Della-Vedowa (1917–1994), Lockheed Missiles and Space, Skunkworks
  • Warren Samuel Eaton (1891–1966), Colonel and early pilot who built airplanes for Lincoln Beachy
  • Winfield Bertrum Kinner (1882–1957), a.k.a. Bert Kinner, built "Kinner" airplanes. Amelia Earhart flew a Kinner.
  • Augustus Roy Knabenshue (1876–1960), balloon and dirigible pilot who flew in the Dominguez Air Meet in 1910 and manager of the Wright brothers exhibition team, the "Wright Fliers."[9]
  • John Bevins Moisant (1868–1910), won the Statue of Liberty Race in 1910; first to carry a passenger across the English Channel.
  • Matilde Moisant (1878–1964), the second licensed female pilot in the United States in 1911
  • Elizabeth Lippincott McQueen (1878–1958), one of Los Angeles's first female pilots
  • James Floyd Smith (1884–1956), test pilot and instructor for Glenn Martin and manufacturer of parachutes. He built and flew his own plane in 1912 and invented the free-type manually operated parachute for the Army in 1918.
  • Hilder Florentina Smith (1890–1977), aerial acrobat and parachute jumper. She was married to James Floyd Smith.
  • Carl Browne Squier (1893–1967), World War I aviator, barnstormer, test pilot, and salesman. As Vice President of Lockheed Aircraft he sold Charles and Anne Lindbergh their Sirius airplane in 1931.
  • Charles Edward Taylor (1868–1956), machinist for the Wright brothers who helped design and build the first engine for the Wright Flyer flown at Kitty Hawk[10][11]

Burbank Aviation Museum is presented on the first Sunday of each month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.[12][13]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ https://www.google.com/maps/place/Burbank+Aviation+Museum/
  3. ^ https://www.google.com/maps/place/Portal+of+the+folded+wings+shrine+to+aviation/
  4. ^ "Planes Fly Over Resting Place. Air Pioneers Paid Frequent Homage". Los Angeles Times. April 8, 1979. It is fitting that the sounds of planes frequently echo through a giant rotunda here.
  5. ^ Giacinta Bradley Koontz (September 9, 1997). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation and Museum" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2014-11-20. Photos
  6. ^ "Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation". Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-09-25. In 1924, architect Kenneth MacDonald, Jr., and sculptor Federico Giorgi built the Valhalla Memorial Rotunda, a structure now known as The Portal of the Folded Wings — Shrine to Aviation, on the eastern edge of this property. Originally intended to be the entrance to Valhalla Memorial Park, visitors drove through the arches via Valhalla Drive, off Hollywood Way. The Rotunda, with its graceful garden walls and three reflection pools, became a tourist attraction and was used for musical concerts, radio broadcasts and other public events during the 1920s and 1930s.
  7. ^ "Resting Place for Early Aviators Gets a New Look". Daily News of Los Angeles. April 1, 1996. They were among America's aviation pioneers — men and women who flew around the world in rickety contraptions at the turn of the century, undaunted by fear and seduced by the skies. In life, they were united by their love of adventure. Today, many of them are still together — interred in an obscure monument in a North Hollywood cemetery, directly under the takeoff path for Burbank Airport. Located in a corner of the Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park and Mortuary, the
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 16, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Pp. 898, "The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright," M. W. McFarland, Editor, McGraw-Hill Inc., 1953
  10. ^ "Finding Charlie's grave: now located at The Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation and Museum". Aircraft Maintenance Technology. Retrieved 2007-09-25. It is unique to the United States, if not the world, that 14 of America's most famous aviation pioneers, including the Wright Brothers' mechanic, Charles Taylor, are buried just steps away from Burbank's busy airport and the former site of Lockheed's Skunk Works. Appropriately these graves are covered by dignified bronze tablets with shiny symbols of propellers and wings. These Early Birds rest beneath the dome of an ornate structure, so singular in its own right that it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now called The Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to ...[dead link]
  11. ^ "C. E. Taylor Laid to Rest With Aviation Pioneers". Los Angeles Times. February 3, 1956. The body of Charles E. Taylor, the man who built the engine for the world's first airplane, was interred yesterday in the Portal of the Folded Wings at Valhalla Memorial Park, a mausoleum dedicated to aviation pioneer ...
  12. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140825005637/http://www.godickson.com/bam1.htm
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2014-03-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°11′25″N 118°21′14″W / 34.19028°N 118.35389°W / 34.19028; -118.35389