Description and review of a guided historical tour of the East Lawn Memorial Park grounds (East Sacramento).
Having greatly enjoyed a guided tour of the East Lawn Mortuary in 2022, this summer I returned with a friend to take the historical walking tour of the East Lawn Memorial Park grounds.
See related blog post: East Lawn Mausoleum Tour
SacramentoRevealed.com – All Things Sacramento (from a personal perspective)
Craig Peterson, the East Lawn Project Manager, was again the tour guide. Craig has taken it upon himself to research the history of the inhabitants of East Lawn (an ongoing process), a task he clearly enjoys. I, for one, really appreciate what Craig is doing – helping to keep Sacramento history alive.
East Lawn Memorial Park Grounds Tour
Those of us who had signed up for the free tour met at 10:00 a.m. on a recent Saturday at the East Lawn Mortuary. It was going to be a triple-digit day, so I was glad we had an earlyish start. After a brief historical description of East Lawn, the group set out.
Craig had, the day before, walked the route he planned to take in an effort to determine the best shady spots for the group to stop while he shared interesting information about the nearby residents. We were all appreciative.
East Lawn is the final resting place of many prominent Sacramentan’s, and in many cases multiple generations of families. Craig shared interesting stories about a number of the residents as we strolled the grounds.
East Lawn is home to gypsy royalty, former Sacramento mayors, Sacramento County sheriff’s and supervisors, state legislators, clergy, actors, prominent businessmen, soldiers (representing every conflict since the Civil War), British Royal Air Force officers, sports figures, etc.
Most Sacramentan’s will recognize many of the names from more recent history. Learning about some former Sacramento residents from the more distant past was of particular interest to me.
East Lawn Memorial Park is well past 100,000 internments. Eppaminondas G. “Eppie” Johnson (1928-2013) was, as a matter of fact, the 100,000th interment.
Anyone who has lived in Sacramento for a length of time will remember “Eppie” Johnson, a restauranteur and entrepreneur.
After opening his first restaurant in 1965, he built a local chain of 24-hour coffee shops. In 1974, he founded Eppie’s Great Race triathlon, which over the years raised more than $1.5 million for programs that benefited Sacramento County’s mentally and physically challenged. The final race took place in 2018.
There are quite a few gypsy residents at East Lawn, some mausoleums in near vicinity to others in different parts of the park. Untangling the family histories at times can be somewhat of a challenge, according to Craig. To this day, groups of descendants visit at certain times of the year to drink and feast while honoring their dead.
British Royal Air Force Officers
John H.G. Moriarty, James A. Paterson, John R. Latour-Eppy and Fred Hodge were officers and pilots in the Royal Air Force (RAF). They died in a Mather Air Force Base plane accident in 1943 near Fair Oaks while testing aircraft.
Their remains were not returned to England after the war, but they were not forgotten. New headstones were later installed.
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Glide (1852-1941)
Not a name you are likely to recognize, but Lizzie left a lasting legacy that endures to this day.
In 1923, she commissioned Julia Morgan to build the Sacramento Public Market on J Street, which housed 24 independent businesses. Today, the façade is part of the Sacramento Sheraton Grand Hotel.
Among other things of note, in 1929 Lizzie purchased land in San Francisco and gave it, along with a large endowment, to the Methodist Church. Glide Memorial Church today runs 87 various social service programs, and serves almost 1 million meals a year to those in need.
To Sum Up
We only covered a portion of the extensive grounds during the two-hour walking tour, but towards the end it was heating up and we were ready to call it a day.
As we strolled, we spotted several dog walkers enjoying the grounds. Craig mentioned that East Lawn welcomes both joggers and dog walkers during open hours, noting that the presence of both was an asset as it helped discourage crime.
I should also mention another prominent feature of the grounds – the approximately 800 trees that grace the grounds. Like Capitol Park, East Lawn Memorial Park is home to tree species from around the world.
See related blog post: Capitol Park Tree Tour
To sum up, the tour of the East Lawn Memorial Park grounds was another most interesting experience and one my friend and I enjoyed. Information on upcoming tours can be found on the East Lawn website.
Comments on East Lawn Memorial Park (East Sacramento)?
Have you taken one or both guided tours? What would you add?
East Sacramento East Lawn Memorial Park Snapshot:
- 4300 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, Ca 95819
- (916) 732.2000
- Open Daily (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
- Joggers and dog-walkers welcome
Come across a broken link? Please let me know in the comment section below so that I can fix it. Thanks!
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