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Mausoleum Put on Hold in Olmsted Designed Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and dedicated on May 25, 1865. There are about 165,000 interred on the historic grounds.
OAKLAND, Calif.--The cemetery management of Mountain View Cemetery has halted plans to build a 20,000 square foot mausoleum after the California Preservation Foundation filed a lawsuit against the cemetery and Oakland to demand environmental reviews be conducted. Management wants to develop the area to better accommodate visitors and asserts the changes will improve the entrance, but the Oakland Heritage Alliance, local historians and neighbors are worried that historical elements of the Frederick Law Olmsted designed cemetery might be lost without an environmental review. Renovations initially planned were for new underground piping, pedestrian and motor vehicle ways, and wheelchair access to the main office and chapel. Plans for the main gate are for more grass area and replacing five dying trees with 20 cypress. Asphalt around the fountain just inside the entrance is slated for a sidewalk, which management believes is in keeping with Olmsted's design. As some of the materials are quite old--the sidewalk is over 100 years old--taking them out disrupts the historical continuity of the site. This is a concern because some would like to see the cemetery declared a national landmark, which would provide opportunities for grant monies. Management, however, has stated that such grant money would not even meet the cemetery's maintenance needs.

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August 20, 2019, 10:11 am PDT

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