Forest Lawn – Temple of Santa Sabina

This marble canopy is over 1500 years old, and comes from the Basilica Santa Sabina in Rome – making it by far one of the oldest structures in the Los Angeles area. It was a sypathy gift from Pope Pius XI to the prominently Catholic, oil-rich Doheny family, after their son died in mysterious circumstances in 1929.


"Edward L. 'Ned' Doheny, Jr. (1893-1929) was a Businessman. Son of oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny. He has been called "The Bagman of Teapot Dome" for his role in the 1920s political controversy, but is chiefly remembered today for his mysterious demise. Doheny was born in Los Angeles. His parents divorced when he was six and his mother committed suicide in 1901 after losing him in a custody battle. He was raised by his stepmother, Carrie Estelle Doheny. In 1913 he married Lucy Smith, daughter of an executive at the Santa Fe Railroad; they would have five children. From 1913 to 1916 he attended USC [the University of Southern California], where he earned a degree in business and was later elected to the Board of Trustees and as President of the Alumni Association. After serving as a lieutenant in the US Navy during World War I he joined the Doheny oil business as company Vice President. In December 1921, Doheny was instructed by his father to withdraw $100,000 from his own brokerage account and deliver it to US Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall in Washington; he did so accompanied by his close friend and personal secretary, T. Hugh Plunkett. This transaction became one of the key events of the Teapot Dome scandal (1923-1924), in which the senior Doheny and rival oil magnate Harry F. Sinclair were accused of bribing Fall to gain leases on government-owned oil reserves. During the years of litigation that followed Doheny kept a low profile in the business world and devoted his free time to supervising the construction of Greystone, his $3 million mansion in Beverly Hills. The work was completed in October 1928 but his residence there would be brief. On the night of February 16, 1929, Doheny and Hugh Plunkett were found shot to death in one of Greystone's guest bedrooms. Within 24 hours police concluded that Plunkett had murdered Doheny after being refused a raise and then turned the gun on himself. But the haste of the investigation (details of which were later disputed by one of the detectives on the scene), the rather pat motive attributed to Plunkett, and the way the incident was hushed up in the press, inspired several alternative theories and left many questions unanswered. One of them concerns Doheny's resting place. Although the Dohenys were devoted Catholics, Ned was interred not in the Doheny Family Room at Calvary Mausoleum but alone at Forest Lawn in Glendale. This gave rise to the scenario that Doheny was the actual gunman, since suicides were denied Catholic burial at that time.... His parents later donated $1.1 million to USC for a library in his honor. When the Edward L. Doheny, Jr. Memorial Library opened in 1932, California Governor James Rolph, Jr. declared, 'Here we see perpetuated the love of a father for his dutiful son'." (bio by: Robert Edwards, at


One shot JPEG, hand-held Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, with M.Zuiko 12-50mm lens, 12mm focal length (24mm FF equivalent), ISO 400, 1/80-sec, f/14, with a Hoya circular polarizing filter.


Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, is a stunning place. Filled not just with famous gravesites, beautiful trees, and rolling acres of grass, but also numerous statues, exhibits, and works of art, and steeped in its own rather fantastic and in some respects controversial history. Well worth a visit if you're ever in the LA area.

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Taken on July 25, 2012