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.
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, 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 extensively, 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 remains today, an achievement unsurpassed anywhere for its visionary concept and awe-inspiring execution. White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery was the first memorial park cemetery established in the United States east of California. It truly is one of the most beautiful creations of its kind in America.