February 05, 2013

Photo Essay: Fairmount Cemetery, For Those Who Pass

There are plenty of pioneer cemeteries in and around Los Angeles, but none quite as mysterious and hidden as Fairmount Cemetery in the San Gabriel foothill community of Azusa.

A registered state and federal landmark, Fairmount Cemetery is hard to find. The road ends and you must walk the rest of the way there...

...past the pits of the thriving gravel mines that surround it.

Tucked away behind a gated entrance, but barely protected by fencing, Fairmount Cemetery seems as doomed as its inhabitants...

...who were primarily pioneers, crossing into California to pursue their dreams of a better life.

Those that didn't make it all the way were buried by their families here...

...beneath the pepper trees, to rest for eternity, while their loved ones moved on.

As at many other historic cemeteries, the gravestones atop San Felipe Hill have seen better days...

...toppling and hiding in the overgrowth...

...especially in a season when the rain has created a bed of lush vegetation to surround them.

Development surrounds the cemetery, which has survived 130+ years amidst the mining and new housing that has sprung up...

...and encroached on this sacred place.

A former Native American burial site, there are more souls here than gravestones you can see.

And there are more gravestones than those you can see.

Throughout the 20th century, many of them fell victim to vandalism.

Even the citrus trees, which were once bountiful, no longer bear fruit.

Perhaps their no longer being watered.

If man's intervention (and shoddy preservation) will come in the form of messy concrete spackling over cracks and breaks...

...perhaps it's better to let nature take over.

Perhaps those whose families passed through here, while they merely passed on,  have already been forgotten.

Who is left to remember them? Who stayed?

The burial site is so crowded, only descendants of those buried here are allowed to join them.

But who remains? Who ever returned?

Who will be missed?

Nearby Attractions:
Fish Canyon & Creek (Part 1 and Part 2)
San Gabriel Valley Gun Club, Abandoned
Rubel's Castle

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1 comment:

  1. Your blog on this out-of-the way historic cemetery is wonderful!!! I, too, visited it with Esotouric's wonderful couple. It was an amazing find that hardly anyone knows about. Oh, if those gravestones could talk!!!!