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Thursday, September 12, 2013


CHERISHING OUR VALLEY               2013

 Little Country Chapel - Valhalla Cemetery - Victory at Cahuenga
Vintage postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2013

The creators of Valhalla cemetery on the border of North Hollywood and Burbank, were actually scam artists who high pressured people into buying their burial plots, then resold them over and over. Eventually, the con men were eventually sent to jail and the property was sold to the Pierce Brothers Mortuary chain. Today the site is operated by a reputable company and is the burial site for many important San Fernando Valley people, among whom are many celebrities. 

Many important leaders in early American aviation are buried in Valhalla, most near the shrine of the Portal of Folded Wings.  Among these are James Floyd and Hilder Florenina Smith. Jim Smith (1884 to 1956) constructed his own aircraft in 1912. He developed a hand-operated parachute for the U.S. Army during the First World War.  Hilder, his wife (1890 to 1977) was a very early parachute jumper in 1914. She was the first woman to fly out of what was to be Los Angeles International Airport.

Siblings Matilde and John Moisant are also buried in Valhalla. Matilde became the second woman in America to earn a pilot's license in 1911. John Moisant designed, built and flew the first metal airplane.

Augustus Roy Knabenshue (1876–1960) was the first dirigible pilot in the United States. Knabenshue established the first commercial dirigible service from Los Angeles to Pasadena in 1912. Before the Pasadena Freeway was built just before World War II, getting from downtown's Union Station to Pasadena was no easy trip.

1 comment: said...

Good stuff Gary, keep them coming.