A vanished city lives again...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Louis Phillips at Spadra Cemetery

Louis Phillips was an important figure in late 19th century Los Angeles. He's perhaps best known as the developer of the elegant Phillips Block (1887-1912), formerly located at Spring and Franklin Streets.

Although influential in the commercial life of Los Angeles, Louis Phillips did not reside in the city itself. He lived on his land holdings in Spadra, on Rancho San Jose in eastern Los Angeles County. In 1875, Phillips built a mansion at Spadra, and there he dwelt for the rest of his life. When he died in 1900, Phillips was interred at nearby Spadra Cemetery.



Now for a personal connection. It turns out that I knew about the pioneer Phillips family decades before I became an L.A. history buff. It just so happens that, in the 1920s, my father went to school in nearby Pomona with one of Louis Phillips's descendants. One of the few stories Dad used to tell about his childhood was how he got a bad case of poison oak while he and the Phillips boy were hiking up on Elephant Hill, which overlooked the old family mansion...and Spadra Cemetery.

I'd known about this old settlers burial ground myself since the 57 freeway was built in the early 1970s; it could be clearly seen from the northbound viaduct as it came down from Diamond Bar. I was intrigued by the place, but I never actually visited the cemetery until 1998. When I did, I was pleased to discover the Phillips family plot there, and I took this photo of the marble monument.


Photo by J Scott Shannon.


While researching this post, however, I was shocked to learn that Phillips's gravestone had more recently been vandalized.


Click image to view Flickr page; photo by rwpeary.

Bastards! This sort of thing genuinely sickens me...

 

15 comments:

StagazerTony said...

I go to the Spadra Cemetery about once every 2 years. It's nice to see that people do go in and clean it up and correct some of the acts commited by vandals. The Phillip's marker is back in place as of 12-02-09 which was my last visit.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to phathom what goes through a vandals head when they do such things. Truly a shame!!!

Anonymous said...

I am intrigued by this cemetary and would love to visit it. I am a history teacher and love California history. How might I go about getting here? Is it legal to visit this cemetary? Thank you.
- Cody

Los Angeles Past said...

Spadra Cemetery is under the guardianship of The Historical Society of Pomona Valley. I would suggest you contact them directly in regard to your questions.

Anonymous said...

I went there today with a friend to check it out and most of the tombstones have been vandalized, many are missing, they just have stubs. Others have been cemented into the ground so they couldn't be knocked over anymore.

There's some handmade little headstones in some places that I'm not sure are fake or real.

- J

Anonymous said...

it is a shame. my old bible study leader used to go there when he was a kid and he said there was no fence or anything. when we went at night one time just to show me and my brother where it was, after hearing someone being hurt and screaming, we got chased by a gang and barely got out of there. never got to see inside.

Jared said...

I am a student at Cal Poly Pomona and i am conducting a Photo Essay on this site and the surrounding landscape. i am interested in any information that people have on this site. i also need history about the site and i think that my first step is contacting the Pomona Historical Society. Thanks

Jared

lawrence sexy said...

I went there last night, a right of passage for a graduating Cal Poly Student. It was 8 pm, foggy, and FULL MOON, very creepy, but i was brave. It's a peaceful place, with willow trees creating a timeless ambiance. the hill gently rises above the cemetary, and the tombstones are antique as fuck.. very special place

Anonymous said...

the small little tombtones that were squared shaped planted on the ground with little jewels or beads on the coners are of little children or infants,they are real.

Anonymous said...

i went there last night. my friend took us around 2am.very scary..we took pics and saw alot of aura around us.. loved the history of that cementary

Anonymous said...

Went there a couple times when I was about 18 yrs. We would just hang out and get a little spooked, but we never vandalized.
I'm 40 now and would probably never go back just to hang out, lol. But it upsets me too that people can't just go and enjoy the cemetary without ruining it.
LEAVE A PIECE OF HISTORY ALONE FOR OTHERS TO SEE & ENJOY AS IT SHOULD BE!!!

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather Levi G. Stanchfield was buried at Spadra Cemetery he was married to Luisa Arenas.I have been there a few times and saw how it had been vandilized. I have contacted the Pomona Historical Society without any results. I have the deed to his plot lots 10 & 11 in block 27. He died Feb. 26 1901. I would also like to find out where the remains of the Palomares Cemetery were moved. I believe my G Grandmother Josefa Polomares Arenas, was moved, and she is interned at Calvery Cemetey in E los Angeles.The Palomares's are my decendents and would like to know where they are buried.( The one's that were buried at the Palomares Cemetery. If anyone can help I would appreciate it. Phil Stanchfield

Sonya Rodriguez said...

The Palomares are also my decendents

Unknown said...

The LA Times story (July 30, 2008) on the Phillips Block, linked in the first sentence above, reproduces several old newspaper articles about the Phillips Block, but none of those identifies its location as that of the first City Hall for Los Angeles after California statehood. There the Antous Jose Rocha adobe residence (built in the 1820s) stood, which was used as City Hall from 1850 to 1883. On the adobe property also stood the City Jail. I've found no photograph of the Rocha adobe via the WWW.

Unknown said...

Those calling their ANCESTORS their "decendents" are incorrect. You are THEIR descendants - and they in turn are your ancestors. They came before you and all that...unless of course you lived before them and have come back to life!

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