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|The Los Angeles National Cemetery, located across from what is now the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System, has grown to more than 114 acres since its late 19th century origins. The first interment dates to a few days prior to the May 22, 1889 dedication of the cemetery. In 1973, the cemetery was transferred from the then-Veterans Administration Medical Center to what was then the National Cemetery System.
The Los Angeles National Cemetery opened as one of 11 facilities operated by the Veterans Administration, on lands shared with national veterans' homes or asylums for disabled soldiers. The Pacific Branch of the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established in 1887 on Santa Monica ranch lands donated by Senator John P. Jones and Arcadia B. de Baker. The following year, the site grew by an additional 200 acres; in 1890, 20 more acres were appended for use as a veterans' cemetery. By this time, with more than 1,000 veterans in residence, a new hospital was erected in 1900. It was replaced in 1927 by Wadsworth Hospital, and a second facility, Brentwood Hospital, was also constructed in the 1920s.
Some of the built features are unusual, including an administration building-chapel, 1939-40, and the NCA's only indoor columbarium, 1940-41, both built by the Works Progress Administration in a distinctive Spanish Revival style of stucco and tile. The original gatehouse and entrance gates have been removed.
Two unusual canine burials distinguish Los Angeles National Cemetery, although this practice is prohibited today. Old Bonus, an adopted pet of residents in the soldiers’ home, and Blackout, a war dog wounded in the Pacific during World War II, are both buried here.
Monuments and Memorials
A granite oblelisk erected in Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives in Defense of Their Country is situated in the San Juan Hill area of the cemetery. Date of dedication and donor information has not been located.
A monument to Civil War Soldiers was erected in 1942. A bronze soldier standing at parade rest is perched atop a boulder The United Spanish War Veterans monument, also known as the Spirit of ’98, is a bright white marble composition of three figures completed in 1950 by sculptor Roger Noble Burnham. The memorial crumbled after a 1971 earthquake. In 1973, sculptor David Wilkens re-created the monument out of concrete and plaster, reinforcing it with rebar. The plaque from the original sculpture survived and was imbedded on the new sculpture.