2018 WAHA Annual Cemetery Tour

hey came to America, and Los Angeles, to follow their dreams…for opportunities and, often, to escape persecution. And now om Sunday Sept. 23 their stories will come alive in this hugely popular West Adams Heritage annual history tour at the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.    The tour will explore the lives of the many immigrants who are among the permanent residents of the cemetery. We’ll learn about their families, their successes as well as hardships, their hopes and dreams, and their contributions in business endeavors, to the city’s cultural heritage, and on the nation’s battlefields.

Aug18tourOdamaActors, in costume and at graveside with set vignettes, will give first-person portrayals of some of the people who are buried here, including: Joseph Maier, one of Los Angeles early German brewmeisters; Harry Odama and his wife, Alice Miyeko Ishisaka Odama, a Japanese couple who were sent to internment camps during World War II; Samuel “Hall” Halladjian, a pastor whose brother and father perished during the period of the Armenian genocide; Kuang Do Song Paik, a Korean woman whose family escaped the Imperial occupation when their homeland became a Japanese protectorate in 1905; Jean Louis Sainsevain, a French immigrant who helped establish California’s wine industry; and Luis Alberto Figueroa, soldier, hero, and Purple Heart recipient who gave his life in the Gulf War.

Harry Odama

AUG18tourChewChew was one of the lucky immigrants. He arrived from China at age 15 and was taken under the wing by a California official, Reginald del Valle. Although Chew was sent to del Valle’s home to be a houseboy, del Valle instead sent him to school. But Chew’s education was halted later, when he hoped to study architecture but instead was forced into a different (ultimately successful) path of small business ownership. 

Aug18tourPak2In 1910, Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan after years of war, intimidation and political machinations; the country would be considered a part of Japan until 1945. During the occupation, Japan imposed forced worship of Japanese religion, and took over Korea’s labor along with its land.  The Paik family escaped Korea in 1905, when the Japanese Imperial troops first arrived. Its matriarch, Kuang Do Song Paik, initially supported the family by cooking meals for other workers in Hawaii’s pineapple fields. The Paiks moved to several farms on the U.S. Mainland before settling in Los Angeles.

Aug18TourHalladjThe Rev. Dr. Samuel Haroutune Halladjian was born in Aintab, Turkey. Aintab, a beautiful town with dusty cobblestoned streets was lined with small shops and large houses with red clay roof tiles. He was the son of an Armenian pastor, Harutyan Halladjian, and had three siblings: Mary, Jacob (a self-proclaimed "artiste" who emigrated to Massachusetts to attend Yale circa 1905) and Mihran (like Jacob, a photographer). The Halladjian family bears witness to the Armenian genocide, when some 1.5 million Armenians perished. Mary, Jacob and Samuel all made it to America, and in fact Jacob played a seminal role in Armenian immigration to the United States, as the named plaintiff in the 1909 federal court case, In Re Halladjian, when Armenians were ruled eligible for U.S. citizenship. But brothers Mihran and Samuel’s parents never got that chance. They died during the period that Aintab’s Armenian families were forced across the desert to Aleppo, Syria.

Aug18tourLuisIn recent decades, serving this country has been viewed as a path to citizenship. But some immigrant families, such as the mother and brother of Luis Alberto Figueroa, make an unmeasurable sacrifice. He was killed in the battle of Falluja in Iraq on November 18, 2004, while he was conducting a house-to-house search for insurgents.

Rosedale Cemetery (now Angelus Rosedale) was founded in 1884, when Los Angeles was a small town. Its location at what is now the corner of Washington Boulevard and Normandie Avenue was then in the countryside, outside the city limits. It was the first cemetery in Los Angeles open to all races, faiths, creeds – and countries - and is home to generations of Angelenos from every walk of life. Each year, WAHA tells some of their life stories while touring the historic grounds with the cemetery’s elaborately carved monuments.  In this way, the Living History Tour helps educate the citizens of Los Angeles about our history, and the community’s cultural heritage.


Tours depart approximately every 20 minutes, beginning at 9 a.m. until noon. Advance paid reservations are required.

For timeslots, prices (including Early Bird Specials) and to purchase:  www.WestAdamsHeritage.org 

You can also pay by mailing a check made out to "WAHA" and sent to Living History Tour, 2263 S. Harvard Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90018.

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery is located at 1831 West Washington Blvd. in Historic West Adams.

For more information: 

323-909-WAHA or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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About Us

Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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Dianne V. Lawrence
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