Considered to be the largest single-operated cemetery in the world, Rose Hills consists of approximately 1,400 acres and offers a complete range of funeral services.
The Early Years
Rose Hills began in 1914 as a small cemetery, consisting of 18 acres of whatwas once part of the famous Rancho Paso de Bartolo Spanish land grant. At that time, Rose Hills was called Whittier Heights Memorial Park and served as the local burial grounds for Whittier. Not long after the park's founding, cemetery management realized that more land was needed and purchased an additional 100 acres. However, the community the cemetery served was growing so rapidly that the additional acreage was not adequate to meet the needs of the densely populated Los Angeles and Orange County areas.
In 1928, the management launched an expansion program designed to increase the size of the cemetery through a series of land acquisitions. The program, continuing into the 1950s, increased Rose Hills' land holdings to its present size of approximately 2,500 acres. During this time, the cemetery's directors felt a name change was needed in order to better represent the expanded region the cemetery served. A community-wide contest was held in order to find the most appropriate name, and Rose Hills was selected.
Even with an organized plan for expansion, the going was not always easy. The largest obstacle in the path of Rose Hills' progress was the redesigning of huge amounts of land so that the expansion plan could go forward.
Much of the land purchased for the program consisted of rugged hillsides, steep cliffs, and deep canyons. In order to utilize what was considered worthless property, the management of Rose Hills launched one the of the largest private land redevelopment projects ever undertaken.
To reshape the terrain into gently sloping hillsides, approximately 25 million cubic yards of earth had to be moved and contoured. By the time the land conversion project was completed, Rose Hills redesigned an amount of earth about one-sixth the size of the Panama Canal.
From the 605 Freeway, exit at Rose Hills Road. Travel east to Workman Mill Road, then left to the Rose Hills Memorial Park entrance.
The pond water
Reflects the fragrance
Of perfect Andromeda flowers.
Let me put them in my sleeve.
Ike mizu ni
Kage sae miete
Ashibi no hana o
Sode ni kokire na
Otomo no Yakamochi Manyôshuû, vol. 20, no. 4512 trans. by M.V. Otake