Rose Hills Memorial Park was founded in 1914 by Augustus Gregg on part of the historic Rancho Paso de Bartolo land grant. Whittier Heights Memorial Park, as it was originally known, began as an 18-acre cemetery serving the burgeoning city of Whittier.
As the population of the area grew, the park grew with it. In 1928, management launched an expansion program that continued into the 1950s. At its largest, the park once spanned nearly 2,500 acres.
Even with an organized plan for expansion, there were challenges. Much of the acquired land included steep cliffs and deep canyons. Rose Hills launched one the of the largest private land redevelopment projects ever undertaken to re-contour the rugged hillsides.
To reshape the terrain into gently sloping hillsides, which today serve as beautiful spacious lawns, approximately 25 million cubic yards of earth had to be moved and contoured. By the time the land conversion project was completed, Rose Hills had re-sculpted an amount of earth equal to one-sixth the amount excavated to build the Panama Canal.
Expansion of Services
Rose Hills also expanded the breadth of services available to Southern California families. In 1917, a small indoor mausoleum, the second public structure of its kind in California, was opened. In 1930, El Portal de la Paz (Doorway to Peace) opened to the public. This large, indoor mausoleum is reminiscent of early California missions with marble corridors and exquisite stained glass windows.
Four garden mausoleums (Terrace of Memories, Court of Eternal Light, Mausoleum of the Valley, and Lakeview Mausoleum) were later built. Four beautiful chapels, Rainbow Chapel, Hillside Chapel, Memorial Chapel and SkyRose Chapel were also built — each with its own unique charm and purpose.
In 1942, Rose Hills completed its crematorium, and in 1956 Rose Hills Mortuary and Flower Shop were opened, making Rose Hills one of the first cemeteries in the country to offer all the services and facilities necessary for memorialization at one convenient location.
Rose Hills Today
Today, Rose Hills Memorial Park covers more than 1,400 acres, making it the largest cemetery in North America. Rose Hills is proud to be able to offer complete memorial care from a single location, including cemetery, funeral and cremation offerings. The high level of comprehensive funeral service that Rose Hills offers reflects the dedicated efforts of its more than 500 team members.
Rose Hills' Self-Guided Tour
This driving tour will introduce you to Rose Hills’ rich history and traditions, as well as unique areas of our 1,400-acre memorial park.