Woodlawn Cemetery

Known As
City of Santa Monica Woodlawn Cemetery, Mausoleum & Mortuary
1847 14th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Dating back to the mid-19th century, Woodlawn Cemetery rests as a peaceful exemption in the bustling City of Santa Monica. Its 26 verdant acres chronicle the diverse pioneers, civic leaders, artists and rascals who have shaped the city and our world.

In the 1870s, the cemetery was known as the Ballona Township Cemetery because it was located within the boundaries of the Mexican Rancho La Ballona. The land was owned by Arcadia Bandini de Stearns Baker, a wealthy Californio landowner and socialite known as the “godmother of Santa Monica” and a “great benefactress” for supporting the formation and development of the city. This includes the donation of land for Palisades Park, where her bronze statue now stands.

In 1884, Bandini de Stearns Baker deeded the site at Pico and 14th Street to her nephew Juan Carrillo, who in turn, without compensation, deeded it to the city in 1897. Carrillo, who served on the Santa Monica City Board of Trustees and as a city police judge, and his son actor Leo Carrillo of Cisco Kid fame are buried at Woodlawn.

Photos: Steve Loeper

A walk through Woodlawn Cemetery presents a pantheon of notable personalities, whose contributions to history and society make the grounds come alive. Among those interred are:

  • Sally Ride, the first American woman and known LGBTQ astronaut in space.
  • Elfie Mosse Santa Monica’s first librarian, who held the post for 49 years and oversaw the library’s expansion to branch locations.
  • Nat Love, aka “Deadwood Dick,” an African American cowboy and former slave whose exploits made him one of the most famous African American heroes of the Old West.
  • Abbot Kinney, a local real estate mogul, who developed Ocean Park and the Venice Canals.
  • Lion Feuchtwanger, a prominent German-Jewish novelist and playwright who lived in exile in the United States, including Pacific Palisades, for being critical of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
  • Nick Gabaldon, a pioneering surfer of African American and Mexican American descent and first documented surfer of color in the Santa Monica Bay.
  • May Sutton, the first American player to win the singles title at Wimbledon in 1905.

Today, Woodlawn is considered one of the city’s most important historical resources, not only because of the notables who are interred there, but also for its significant architectural features.

The mausoleum, located in the heart of the cemetery, features the Spanish Churrigueresque ornamentation imported from Mexico and a popular variant of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Completed in 1927 and bought by the city in 1972, it is one of the first public mausoleums constructed in the state. The mausoleum’s interior features marble and granite imported from Italy, magnificent stained-glass windows, and tapestries painted by renowned artist Hugo Ballin, also known for his work at Griffith Observatory and Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Ballin himself was interred at Woodlawn in 1956.

Enjoy our Two-minute Tour of Woodlawn Cemetery below.


City of Santa Monica

Santa Monica Public Library

Woodlawn Cemetery

Library of Congress