The idea was simple, yet visionary and even somewhat
radical for its time: The ideal cemetery should be inspired
by life, not shaped by death. It should be a place for
the living - a place of beauty and affirmation. A place
that embodied the poet John Keats' observation that,
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever; Its loveliness
increases; it will never pass into nothingness."
And so it was that the founders of White Chapel Cemetery
- led by Clarence J. Sanger - set out to build a totally
different kind of cemetery, and forever change the cold,
forbidding 'graveyard' standard to which people had
long been subjected.
Mr. Sanger envisioned a lovely park-like setting with
lush greenery; a veritable symphony of floral splendor;
rolling, landscaped lawns and majestic trees - an environment
alive with the beauty of nature, reflecting the recurring
miracle of the seasons, and serving to renew mankind's
faith in eternity.
He traveled far and wide, gathering ideas. Upon his
return stateside, he called in the esteemed architect,
Alvin Harley, and outlined his vision. When Mr. Harley
and his colleagues submitted their preliminary sketches,
Mr. Sanger announced, "Gentlemen, I like your ideas.
But I want the finished project to cost twice as much.
White Chapel must be the ultimate."
And so it was, and remains today, an achievement unsurpassed
anywhere for its visionary concept and awe-inspiring
execution. White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery was the
first cemetery established in the United States east
of California to be a memorial park cemetery. It truly
is one of the most beautiful creations of its kind in
This is the legacy all of us who operate and maintain
White Chapel are guided by. One of vision, of beauty,
of life. We couldn't be more honored nor enthusiastic
in maintaining this legacy. And as we see its inherent
wisdom proven again and again with each passing year,
our sense of commitment to it only grows stronger.