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History Comes Alive on Memorial Day in Altadena Cemetary

Published on May 29, 2023

Sprawling over 60 acres, the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena is offering a visual history lesson on Memorial Day Monday, when the entire family can witness Civil war reenactors and walk among the graves of fallen American war heroes, pay their respects, and learn about America’s past.

The event starts at noon at Mountain View Cemetery at 2400 N. Fair Oaks Ave., in Altadena. It will feature a gun salute by Civil War reenactors wearing full costume and Civil war storytelling by historian Nick Smith.

Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War will share their family stories at the event while Gen. W.S. Rosecrans Camp No. 2. of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War will conduct a meaningful ceremony near the GAR Godfrey Post monument at 2:00 p.m.

Denny Dormody, Funeral Director of Mountain View Mortuary and Cemetery, said there will be free flags which visitors can pick and place on graves. 

“It’s part of the history of our Altadena and Pasadena community, and we like to honor all the veterans that are here,” said Dormody.

“It’s to honor our local heroes and the people that are from the area that have served in the military. So it’s our great honor to be part of that and to provide a resting place for our past heroes.”

Over 700 Union and 70 Confederate Civil War graves are located at Mountain View Cemetery. Graves also include those of many veterans of the world wars, as well as the Spanish-American War in 1898.

“We have so many markers here with veterans,” Dormody said last year on Memorial Day. “We have our box of flags ready to go for people that want to stop by and grab a flag and pay their respects over the weekend.”

Nestled below the San Gabriel Mountains, the cemetery is the final resting place for some of the very people who helped shape America, such as Caltech physicist Richard Feynman, who won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum electrodynamics; Charles F. Richter, who invented the Richter Scale for measuring the intensity of earthquakes; sci-fi writer Octavia Butler, Black activist author Eldridge Cleaver, and George Reeves, the 1950’s TV Superman.

The remains of Pasadena’s pioneer families, California statesmen, and other historically significant personalities also lie around Heritage Circle within the Cemetery, where you will find the graves of former Governor of California Henry H. Markham and his wife, the Hollingsworth monument, and the Giddings family monument.

Online, anyone can browse through the list of prominent personalities who are buried at Mountain View, on the Cemetery’s website, or you can see a link to an online archive of all the Civil War veterans who have come to Pasadena and were laid to rest there. These resources will definitely be useful when you’re planning your hike on Memorial Day.

Families are welcome to join the event. Gates open at 8 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m., and there is plenty of parking available.

The grounds of Mountain View Cemetery are also open all year-round if you’d like to visit on your own.

For more information, visit or call (626) 794-7133

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