December 30, 2021

Photo Essay: Ascending the Bradbury Building, One Floor At A Time (Or, Cocktailing the Bradbury, At Night)

The historic Bradbury Building, built in 1893, is one of the oldest commercial buildings still standing in center city Los Angeles. It's a private office building—so generally, only the ground floor businesses and lobby area are open to the public. 

 circa 2020

A few years ago, there was an architectural tour of the Bradbury Building that would take ticketholders all the way up to the roof—but I couldn't get a press pass to it and I couldn't afford the ticket. Getting to the roof—or anywhere upstairs, really—has been on my bucket list ever since.

December 23, 2021

Another Year Of Wandering SoCal for KCET (2021 Edition)

In addition to my work here at Avoiding Regret, I've also been contributing to KCET's website for almost seven years—primarily as the columnist behind its "SoCal Wanderer" blog, but also sometimes writing stories for other sections (like "Lost LA"), too.

This became enormously challenging during pandemic lockdowns. How do you write about travel when you're not allowed to—or are too scared to—go anywhere?

I've had to get really creative since March 2020. 

But I haven't been keeping myself "locked up" too much and have still managed to stay safe. So, I've been passionate about sharing what I've learned with my readers. 

I don't often repost my KCET articles here, often because much of the content that gets published here first eventually makes its way into my KCET guides.

But with the year ending, I thought it worthwhile to round up all my 2021 articles in case you'd like to check them out. 

Here they are in chronological order, starting with February. (The COVID-19 surge was just too bad in January, so we took the month off.)


December 22, 2021

Photo Essay: Top Posts of 2021

I know I post a lot.

And even posting half as much as I used to, it can get overwhelming. 

So at the end of each year, I do this little roundup of the most popular posts of the prior 12 months. They're not necessarily the ones people liked the most. They're just the ones that got the most views. 

Which is I guess a measure of popularity (if not quality). 

I have my own favorites that didn't make this Top 10 list—but if you're looking for a good place to start, or maybe catch up on what you've missed, the following should be a good primer. 

So, in more or less descending order from the most popular post, here's a recap of 2021:

December 21, 2021

Year-In-Review: 2021 Updates to Past Posts

It feels like there were more changes to report on this year than in years past. Maybe that's just because I've gone to more places now.

But things have been changing pretty rapidly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic—and sadly, there have been a lot of closures. 

It's not all bad news, though. Some places have come back to life. And some places have managed to hold on this whole time. 

So you've got them all in one place, here are some updates to my past posts to try to keep them as current as accurate as possible. 

December 20, 2021

Photo Essay: Jingling On the Waves at Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

One holiday tradition that Southern California has that I don't recall ever happening in New York City is the Christmas boat parade. 

I'd watched one from Ports O' Call in San Pedro back in 2013—but I couldn't see much. Though I was relatively unimpressed, I was undeterred in my quest to find a better experience. 

I knew there were other Christmas boat parades in Dana Point, Huntington Beach, Ventura Harbor, and Newport Beach. I just didn't want to go alone. Or do all the planning myself. 

Fortunately, this was the year that my partner-in-crime decided she wanted to take up the gauntlet and figure out the best way to see the Newport Beach one—which, for us, turned out to be a spectator cruise offered by Davey's Locker on the Balboa Peninsula. 

December 19, 2021

Photo Essay: The Twice-Relocated Shipbuilder's House of San Pedro Bay

In 1901, German immigrant shipbuilder Wilhelm (William) Muller bought a Colonial Revival-style house at 129 Front Street in the Nob Hill section of San Pedro at the Los Angeles Harbor and moved in with his wife Elsie and their children. 

At the time, he was working as a master shipwright at the Banning Company's Mormon Island Shipyard in nearby Wilmington, designing steamships that took tourists to Catalina Island—like the Hermosa II and the Cabrillo—and even some of the glass-bottom boats at Catalina. That's when William Banning of Wilmington still owned Catalina Island—before he sold to William Wrigley in 1919. 
The house had been built in 1899 by San Pedro pioneer Edward J. Mahar for his parents at First and Front Street—but they never moved in, making the Mullers the only family to have ever resided there.

December 13, 2021

Photo Essay: 101 Coffee Shop Space in Hollywood Hills Gets Reincarnated As Clark Street Diner

There are certain places I visited before I ever moved to California that really introduced me to the version of LA that I love. 

The Dresden Room, Mozza, Pann's, Norm's La Cienega, Mel's, Yamashiro, and The Magic Castle are a few of them. 

The 101 Coffee Shop, near the Vine Street on- and off-ramps for the 101 Freeway on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, is another one of those places. 


December 07, 2021

Photo Essay: The Ranch Where 'Golden Age' Western Movie Star Joel McCrea Became a Real-Life Cowboy

South Pasadena-born Joel McCrea might be best known for his portrayal of Buffalo Bill in the 1944 film of the same name, and perhaps he's gone down in history as one of the most handsome and under-appreciated Western stars out there. 

He'd been a leading man since 1930 (in The Silver Horde)—but his first Western film wasn't until 1937, when he starred in Wells Fargo with his wife, Frances Dee. 
They'd gotten married in 1933—and that same year, at age 28 McCrea became a real-life cowboy with the purchase of Belgian immigrant August Dumortier's former ranch, which had first been settled in the mid- to late-19th century in the far southeast corner of the former Rancho Simi

December 05, 2021

Photo Essay: Hark! The Blow-Mold Choir Sings at Lilley Hall (Or, "The White Christmas House")

In 1954, Joseph J. Lilley saw the release of the classic holiday film, White Christmas, for which he served as musical director and vocal arranger. 

That same year, he bought a two-story Tudor Revival home built in 1927 in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Toluca Lake, just on the other side of the Hollywood Hills in the San Fernando Valley.

December 02, 2021

Photo Essay: The First California Mission Named After a Female Saint (And the Only One on a University Campus)

At some point, I'll get to visit all of the California missions. But for now, I'm slowly ticking them off my list as the opportunities present themselves. 

My August trip to San Jose brought me to Mission Santa Clara de Asis—the eighth out of the 21 total, but the first mission to honor a woman. 

November 29, 2021

Photo Essay: Good Fortune Helped This California 'Mission By the Sea' Survive Seismic Surges and Secularization

Incorporated in 1866, Ventura is a 152-year-old coastal city along California’s Mission Trail.

In fact, the Old Mission San Buenaventura—in the city's historic downtown, just a little more than a half-mile inland from the nearest beach, as the seagull flies—really put Ventura, California on the map. 

November 21, 2021

Photo Essay: Where An Esoteric Brotherhood (With a Fake Backstory?) Helped Introduce Egyptian Culture to America

One of the most mysterious places in San Jose, California is the 5-acre Rosicrucian Park—created by Harvey Spencer Lewis, president of the American outpost of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC).

The Rosicrucian movement had gotten a following in 17th-century Europe but had declined in the 18th century, perhaps with the dawn of Enlightenment. 

But then as occultism experienced a revival in the 18th century, so did Rosicrucianism—but only in Europe. 

H. Spencer Lewis set out to spread the teachings of European Rosicrucians across the pond, here in this country. And Rosicrucian Park became ground zero for its lessons, rituals, and library holdings. 

November 19, 2021

Photo Essay: San Diego's Last Operating Homestead Ranch (And Its Ties to German Heritage)

There's a ranch in Encinitas, California that was added to the National Register of Historic Places last year for how original its condition is...

November 15, 2021

Photo Essay: The Greek Theatre, Upon Griffith Park's 125th Anniversary

Colonel Griffith J. Griffith donated the 3000-acre parcel of land that's today known as Griffith Park to the City of Los Angeles back in 1896—125 years ago. But in 1919, he also carved out some money for two specific construction projects inside the park boundary: Griffith Observatory and a Greek-style outdoor amphitheater. 

November 12, 2021

Photo Essay: Exploring the Third Dimension In Depth at LA's 3D-Space

The 3-D Space museum first opened in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park—just downstairs from the Echo Park Film Center in the circa 1932 Alvarado Arts Building—back in 2018. 

It had been on my list to visit since then, but I ended up missing multiple exhibits there before it was forced to close for the COVID-19 pandemic

November 10, 2021

George Key Ranch, One of OC's First Sunkist Orange Groves, Is Open to Visitors Again for the First Time in 7 Years

Last week, I got a hot tip that George Key Ranch Historic Park in Placentia, California was reopening for first time in seven years, after closing from damage sustained in the 2014 La Habra earthquake. 

November 06, 2021

Photo Essay: Descending 185 Feet to Join An Elite Membership of Tunnel Explorers

I've already posted about a couple of adventures I've had recently with Rim of the World Historical Society, based in the mountain communities of the San Bernardino Mountains. 

But I haven't shared why I joined the historical society in the first place—and it starts with Huell Howser, the local celebrity of regionally-focused TV shows that highlight various California landmarks and attractions. 

One of the sites he visited for one of his episodes of California's Gold was Lake Arrowhead, California—not just the town, but specifically the lake. 

And specifically part of the manmade lake's infrastructure—starting at a stone structure that contains a 19th-century elevator down a 185-foot vertical shaft that leads to "Tunnel #1." 

November 02, 2021

Photo Essay: The Happiest Garden Railway in California's Central Coast

When I attended the Central Coast Railroad Festival this year, it wasn't primarily for model railroads—but as long as I was in the area, I figured I'd check out a few of the participating ones. 

I'm always impressed when a railroader lets their hobby take over their property (either inside or outside their home)—so I was excited to visit the Cascade Peak & Buena Vista Railway in Santa Margarita, California. 

October 29, 2021

At Lilley Hall in L.A.'s Toluca Lake, a.k.a. the Pumpkin Blow Mold House, It's 'Go Big or Gourd Home'

In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Toluca Lake, just on the other side of the Hollywood Hills in the San Fernando Valley, there's a two-story Tudor Revival home built in 1927 called Lilley Hall. 


October 27, 2021

Photo Essay: A Mountaintop Religious Enclave Founded By Hindu-Born Christian Yogi, Prince Mozumdar

I'd been wanting to visit the Pillars of God (below) and Mozumdar Temple for years now—but I'd been wary of just driving up there, as I'd heard that it's fiercely guarded by its private owner and that I'd need a 4WD to get to it. 


October 25, 2021

An Alpaca Sleepover

I almost didn't go to the Central Coast Railroad Festival this year. 

My trip had been bumped by one year because of pandemic cancellations—and I wasn't sure whether the COVID-era festival would be worth attending, or if I should wait. 

But it was my birthday weekend, and I thought at least my overnight accommodations would be worth the trip. 

After all, I was booked to stay two nights on an alpaca ranch. 

October 24, 2021

A Surprise Sneak Preview of the Not-Yet-Completed Norgrove Gardens Railway, A Private Narrow Gauge Through A Central Coast Vineyard

Early on in 2020, I'd booked a trip to attend the Central Coast Railroad Festival in October of that year. I was hoping for a chance to ride the Bitter Creek Western Railroad in Arroyo Grande and the Pacific Coast Railroad on Santa Margarita Ranch

But the festival, like nearly everything else last year, was cancelled for COVID-19

Fortunately, the festival resumed on the first weekend of October 2021, and I was able to bump my overnight stay by a year. 
But as the festival approached, it seemed as though I wouldn't be able to ride any of those trains—or any trains for that matter. 
I considered canceling my trip many times—but I'm glad I didn't. 

October 19, 2021

Icons of Darkness Descends onto Hollywood Boulevard With Horror-ible Movie Memorabilia

The latest addition to Hollywood’s horror-themed attractions is Icons of Darkness... exhibition of a privately-owned collection of movie artifacts, just in time for Halloween. 

October 18, 2021

Photo Essay: A Last Oktoberfest at The Phoenix Club's Current Anaheim Home (Since 1992)

In 1960, a group of 15 German immigrant families formed The Phoenix Club in Anaheim to help promote interest in German-American culture and built its original clubhouse along the Santa Ana River near Katella Avenue. 
That was over 100 years after the first 50 pioneering German families had relocated from San Francisco and formed the Los Angeles Vineyard Society—but clearly, the Deutsch presence was still strong in their home by the Santa Ana River ("Ana" "heim").

October 13, 2021

I'd Like to Thank the Academy For Finally Opening Its Long-Awaited Museum on L.A.'s Miracle Mile

The long-anticipated Academy Museum—in the works at least since 2012—opened to the public on my birthday this year, after about a decade of waiting. Not having any other plans, I figured that was a good way to spend the day.

October 11, 2021

Photo Essay: Barris Kustoms Prepares to Depart Its Home of 60+ Years (And Take the Batmobile With It)

By the time I first got to visiting Barris Kustoms in North Hollywood, California, its founder and namesake George Barris had already passed nearly three years before.

I think I had a sense back then that his car customizing shop—long known as "Barris Kustom City," long before Pimp My Ride—might not be long for this world once he was gone.

October 10, 2021

Photo Essay: Ascending to the Ancient and Honorable Order of Squirrels at Strawberry Peak

While in Lake Arrowhead in August, I had a little bit of extra time before heading home—and my top priority was to visit the Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout. 


September 27, 2021

A Hawaiian Village Hideaway in the San Fernando Valley Holds Its Annual Luau, 2556 Miles from Honolulu

In the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Sherman Oaks, there's a 10-acre community of resort-style residential living that captures the mid-20th century perception of Hawaii and living in island style—though it's—a whopping 2556 miles from Honolulu. 

circa 1963 (Joan Huntington on left, Heidt on right) via LAPL

What began as a horse ranch had begun to transform into the hidden oasis it is today—Horace Heidt's Magnolia Estate Apartments—when 1930s big band leader Horace Heidt started building in 1955. 

September 26, 2021

Photo Essay: Pinecrest, Once the San Bernardino Mountains' Largest Resort

I'm a new member of the Rim of the World Historical Society, headquartered in Lake Arrowhead but covering many of the towns nestled in the San Bernardino National Forest—and it's making me feel new-to-California again. 

Like when I received the announcement of a tour of the old Pinecrest Mountain Resort, located in the "Crest Forest" town of Twin Peaks (formerly known as Alpine and, before that, Strawberry after a local strawberry farm).

postcard image via CardCow 

September 22, 2021

Photo Essay: The Former Ranch of Hollywood's Silent Film Era Western Hero, Harry Carey Sr.

On a tour of the St. Francis Dam disaster flood plain a couple of years ago with the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, we were supposed to visit the "Harry Carey Ranch"—but it was closed for a wedding.  

I'd never heard of it—and when we drove by, I saw nothing of it. Nothing besides the sign for the Tesoro del Valle residential community, which was built nearly two decades ago in Santa Clarita, California.

I finally got back there—to the Tesoro Adobe Historic Park—to see what was left of silent film star and Western movie hero Harry Carey, Sr.'s former ranch (reportedly "the first tourist attraction in Santa Clarita") and what had been washed away in the flood.  

September 19, 2021

Photo Essay: Exploring More of Winchester Mystery House, From Turret Tip to Basement

After driving nearly 400 miles over the course of more than six hours (making a couple of stops along the way, of course), it felt like a miracle that I made it to Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California at all for my first tour of the day

But after ambling up two-inch steps and making hairpin turns around switchback-laden stairwells up and down four stories over the course of a couple of hours, I found myself facing the fact that I'd been so ambitious, I'd booked myself on a second tour of Winchester Mystery House, immediately following the first

With just a few minutes of rest between the two, I was tempted to bail and head to dinner early. But the second tour was the one that was really appealing to me—because the "Explore More" tour takes guests in places of the mansion not usually open to the general public. 

September 15, 2021

Photo Essay: A Friday the 13th Visit to Winchester Mystery House

It's easy to dismiss the tragic heiress and philanthropist Sarah Winchester as having gone crazy...

...and that being the reason why her 160-room home, now dubbed the "Winchester Mystery House" is so bizarre and, well, mysterious

September 13, 2021

Photo Essay: Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights, Back in 2021 With a Vengeance

When I first experienced Universal Studios Hollywood in 2015, I considered it one of the best places in LA. 

I know that sounds like sacrilege—especially coming from someone whose favorite LA places include the Los Angeles River, the abandoned Murphy Ranch, and the St. Francis Dam Disaster Site

But when I returned for Halloween Horror Nights in 2019, and again for the studio tour in 2021, I was even more sure about it. 

I wasn't crazy. Universal Studios is great.

Oh, it's no Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm—but it's not meant to be. It's a uniquely Hollywood amusement park, with plenty of film history to offer. 

And I couldn't wait to go back to its Halloween Horror Nights, after having a good time there two years ago and it being suspended last year during COVID-19 closures.

September 12, 2021

Photo Essay: Off the Shore of Avalon, A Cove for Lovers and Tropical Fish

California's Catalina Island may offer more than 60 miles of coastline—but among its most popular and secluded beaches is Lover's Cove, located between Avalon Bay and Pebbly Beach. 

The rocky shore off Pebbly Beach Road near the rock formation known as Abalone Point leads you to the Lover's Cove State Marine Conservation Area, a protected ocean habitat where sportfishing is prohibited.

September 11, 2021

Anaheim: Where Orange County's Oldest City Got Started (Nearly 100 Years Before Mickey Mouse Moved In)

In 1857, Anaheim became the second-oldest colony experiment in California—nearly a century before the arrival of Disneyland

Named "Ana" for the Santa Ana River and "heim" after the German word for home, this "Home by the Santa Ana River" was originally founded  by a collective of 50 German families who had formed the Los Angeles Vineyard Society.

Although you might associate such a German community with biergartens, these German immigrants established Anaheim with 50 vineyard lots, 20 acres each, on 1,165 acres of the former Rancho San Juan Caj√≥n de Santa Ana. They hoped to find wealth through wine, planting primarily Mission grapes in an attempt to create the largest vineyard in the world—despite being miles from markets, seaports, and railroad depots (at least until 1875).

And they succeeded, reigning for a time as the greatest wine-producing district in California, until 1885 when a blight wiped out their wine grapes. 

That's when they quickly shifted their attention to other agricultural crops, like Valencia oranges and walnuts.

Anaheim is now the oldest town in Orange County (though it was LA County back when it was founded). And much of its history has been forgotten, or at least eclipsed, by haunted mansions, intergalactic adventures, and the smell of freshly baked churros. 

But there are still traces of it to be found—if you know where to look.


September 09, 2021

Photo Essay: Mt. Ada on Catalina Island, The Other Wrigley Mansion

Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. did most of his candy business out of Chicago—but he liked Southern California so much, he bought the island of Catalina in 1911 and spent his summers in the city of Avalon, Los Angeles County, California. 

Postcard by Western Publishing & Novelty Co., Los Angeles (via University of North Texas Libraries)

September 07, 2021

Photo Essay: The Steepest Narrow-Gauge Railroad (With the Tightest Curves) Survives Among the Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains

It had been almost a year since I'd ridden the Sugar Pine Yosemite Railroad in Sierra National Forest (and gotten smoked out of the area by local wildfires)—and it had come time for me to ride the rails once again. 

covered bridge (one of the shortest in the U.S,), built 1969

I'd planned a trip up to San Jose to tour Winchester Mystery House (blog post forthcoming) and had decided to drive the long way back home—mostly so I could ride the Roaring Camp Railroad on an antique train through the redwood forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

September 05, 2021

Photo Essay: A Sanctioned Visit Into the Off-Limits Sanctuary of Forest Lawn's Great Mausoleum

I recently posted about the incredible stained glass collection of Forest Lawn Memorial Park's Glendale location—but the truth is, I was really only scratching the surface. 

Gladiola Archway

Many of its most significant stained glass windows are inside the Great Mausoleum—which celebrated its centennial in 2020 and deserves a post entirely dedicated to it. 

August 19, 2021

Photo Essay: A Southern Sea Otter Safari in Monterey Bay

I don't remember how long ago it was when someone first told me about Elkhorn Slough as a destination for sea otters—only that it was sometime before I made it to the otter viewing spot in Morro Bay in 2019. 

Leave it to me to make smalltalk about otters with strangers. 

But when I was mapping out my trip to San Jose last weekend, I noticed that if I took the long way—hugging the coast instead of staying on an inland freeway—I could convince myself that this otter destination in Monterey Bay was on the way home.

August 18, 2021

Photo Essay: Dormant, Ignored San Jose Carousel Waits Patiently For Riders to Return

I've visited a handful of ill-fated carousels in my day—ones that are in disrepair or threatened with demolition and have survived fire and years in storage. 


August 17, 2021

Photo Essay: S.S. Palo Alto, the Concrete Oil Tanker-Turned-Party Ship That's Being Overtaken by the Pacific Ocean

"The Cement Ship"—formerly known simply as "The Ship"—has become a symbol of the unincorporated town of Aptos, California (in Santa Cruz County) and its Seacliff State Beach in the 90+ years since it first arrived. 

It's actually a misnomer, because the ship isn't made of cement—but steel-reinforced concrete (a.k.a. ferroconcrete), which the WWI-era Emergency Fleet Corporation deemed necessary for a small handful of ships built for the war effort during a shortage of both steel and lumber circa 1917. 
      circa 1920, Oakland (Photo: Naval History and Heritage CommandCatalog No. NH 799, Public Domain)

Only problem was that the 420-foot oil tanker, built by the San Francisco Shipbuilding Company at the U.S. Naval Shipyard in Oakland, wasn't finished and ready to launch until 1919—and by then, the war was already over.

And now, 102 years later, that ship—the S.S. Palo Alto—is falling apart before our very eyes. 

August 16, 2021

Photo Essay: Where Robots Tell the Story of Old California and Steinbeck's Cannery Row

Honestly, I hadn't thought much about John Steinbeck since I read Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath and saw East of Eden as a teenager. 

I didn't know anything about the time he spent in Monterey, California at Cannery Row, yet I still felt drawn to the "Spirit of Monterey" wax museum that's often referred to by his name.   

August 11, 2021

Photo Essay: L.A.'s Beaux Arts Library, Built of Bricks and Funded By a Copper Fortune

The William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles was one of those places I didn't know I wanted to go to until it was closed and I couldn't go. 

I think I first heard about it when it was undergoing a restoration (and earthquake retrofitting), sometime between 2015 and 2017. I kept my eye on it—and finally managed to take a tour in 2018. 

L-R Observatory, library (Photo: Security Pacific National Bank Collection, via LAPL)

August 08, 2021

Photo Essay: A Public Tour & Tasting at SoCal's Only Oyster Farm (Shuck Yeah!)

Carlsbad Aquafarm has been growing various types of sea life in the outer Agua Hedionda Lagoon—a tidal wetland that shares water with the Pacific Ocean—since it first arose out of a 1960s-era San Diego State University aquaculture research facility in 1990. 

But it was only five months ago that it first started conducting public tours—and only last week that those tours came on my radar. 

August 07, 2021

Photo Essay: A Rogue Rock Garden That's Full of Whimsy and Heart

It wasn't until today that I began to realize how truly quirky Encinitas, California is. And I think I've only just begun to let it charm me.   

A good example is on B Street, just four blocks from Moonlight Beach—a guerrilla art project and community park called Dave's Rock Garden. 

August 03, 2021

75 Years Ago: The Navy Commandeered A Former Decorating Studio to Conduct Top-Secret Weapons Research

What appears to be a simple restaurant and tea room in Pasadena, California has a much richer history than meets the eye—one that involves the "foremost designer of residential interiors in Southern California in the 1920s" (according to late architectural historian Robert Winter), military secrets, and maybe even Albert Einstein. 

Located in what's now known as the Green Street Village Landmark District, it's currently known as Madeline Garden—but it was designed in 1927 in the Georgian architectural style by Louis du Puget Millar as a studio/office/workshop for renowned interior decorator Edgar James "E.J." Cheesewright and his staff of craftspeople and artisans (including woodcarvers), decorators, and furnishers.

July 31, 2021

Bob Baker Marionette Theater Brings Enchantment Back In Its Grand Re-Re-Opening (After A 16-Month Closure)

The year 2020 was a rollercoaster for everybody, but I can only imagine the panic felt by the fine folks at Bob Baker Marionette Theater...

 circa 2019

...who'd just managed to reopen in a new space (the former York Theatre in Highland Park, Los Angeles) in December 2019 after getting pushed out of their home for 55 years

July 27, 2021

Photo Essay: Orange County's Oldest Private Cemetery (And All That's Left of the Yorba Rancho)

Since I often get overwhelmed by huge, sprawling cemeteries, sometimes the most interesting ones for me are those created for just families and friends. At least then, all those buried there are somehow connected.

And it can be a nice break from the star-studded nature of "Hollywood"-style cemeteries like Hollywood Forever and Forest Lawn, where tourists make pilgrimages to the headstones of their favorite celebrities like they would the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

At the historic Yorba Cemetery in Yorba Linda, California, members of its founding family were of great renown—at least, in present-day Orange County (and, to a lesser extent, San Diego County). 

They were the family members and close associates of the pioneer Yorba family—eponymous founders of the town of Yorba Linda and the cemetery therein.