San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery

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San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery
San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, Sylmar.jpg
San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, September 2008
Location14400 Foothill Boulevard, Sylmar, Los Angeles, California
Coordinates34°19′15″N 118°26′53″W / 34.32083°N 118.44806°W / 34.32083; -118.44806Coordinates: 34°19′15″N 118°26′53″W / 34.32083°N 118.44806°W / 34.32083; -118.44806
Governing bodyCity of Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation & Parks
Reference no.753
DesignatedNovember 30, 1993[1]
Reference no.586
San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery
Location of San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery in the Los Angeles metropolitan area

San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, earlier known as Morningside Cemetery, is a cemetery in the Sylmar district of Los Angeles.

Located on a 3.8-acre (15,000 m²) site at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Bledsoe Street, the Pioneer Cemetery was thought to be originally a 40-acre or 10-acre (400,000 m²) site. The cemetery was established in 1874 when Senator Charles Maclay created the Township of San Fernando. The last burial was most likely in 1939.[2] It was known at the time as the San Fernando Cemetery and also as the Morningside Cemetery and is the oldest non-denominational cemetery in the San Fernando Valley.[2] The area's oldest cemetery being the San Fernando Mission Cemetery, which began operating in approximately 1800.

Until recently, it was erroneously thought that over 700 residents were buried there between approximately 1892 and 1939. Due to heavy vandalism, there are only 13 tombstones remaining. After the cemetery was determined to be legally abandoned in 1959, it was acquired by the Native Daughters of the Golden West, San Fernando Mission Chapter #280, renamed and maintained as a pioneer memorial park.[2] Edith Reber, a longtime resident of Sylmar and an active member of the Chamber, for many years ran a volunteer effort to maintain the grounds with the help of local volunteer groups. In 2002, the Native Daughters gave the cemetery to the San Fernando Valley Historical Society. The Society has made many improvements to the property, including installing a memorial brick entrance and opening the cemetery to the public one day a month on the third Saturday. The Society also commissioned a ground penetrating radar survey in 2010 that located only 214 gravesites, which scientifically contradicted the long-standing belief that more graves were present. While ground penetrating radar may not be infallible, the likelihood that over 700 people were buried there is slim. Through volunteer researchers, nearly 200 death certificates citing Morningside Cemetery have been located. The Society continues to do research in an effort to correct the historical inaccuracies which unfortunately continue to be repeated by media, amateur historians, gravers, and others interested in the old cemetery. It is located on what is currently the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Bledsoe Street.[2]

It was listed as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1993. As "San Fernando Cemetery", it is a California Historical Landmark.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Los Angeles Department of City Planning (September 7, 2007). "Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments" (PDF). City of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  2. ^ a b c d Judson Grenier (Editor-in-chief) (1978). A Guide to Historic Places in Los Angeles County, p. 96. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8403-7501-8.

Further reading[edit]

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