Portal of the Folded Wings
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In the southeast San Fernando Valley, only a half mile from what was once Lockheed Airport, in the
back of Valhalla Cemetery, is Portal of the Folded Wings, Shrine to Aviation, a monument to, and final
resting place for, many early aviation pioneers. The building itself is classic in design with columns and
intricate carvings, topped with a dome. The building was constructed in 1923, designed by Kenneth
MacDonald, Jr., sculpted by Federico Giorgi, and was the original entrance to Vahalla Memorial Park,
visitors drove through it from Valhalla Drive, off Hollywood Way. In the 1920s and 30s, the Rotunda
was used for musical concerts, radio broadcasts, and other public events. In 1930, the original entrance
to the cemetery was closed due to noise from the newly opened United Airport and a new entrance
was opened at Cahuenga and Victory. |
In 1930, James Gillette developed the idea of dedicating the building to aviators from around the word who used United Airport, now named Bob Hope Airport, which is located just a half mile north. The building was dedicated to "The Honored Dead of Aviation" on December 17,1953, the 50th anniversary of flight. On May 27, 1996, The Portal of the Folded Wings - Shrine to Aviation and Museum was officially rededicated. The Portal was rededicated on December 17, 2003, the 100th anniversary of flight.
Markers on the floor cover the ashes of each aviator named on the marker. The wall plaques commemorate aviators not buried here. At the four corners are rooms containing displays that are part of the Burbank Aviation Museum. The aviation pioneers interned are: Bertrand B. Acosta, Walter R. Brookins, Mark M. Campbell, Rev. John Carruthers, Col. Warren S. Eaton, W. Bertrum Kinner, A. Roy Knabenshue, Elizabeth L. McQueen, John B. Moisant, Matilde Moisant, J. Floyd Smith, Hilder F. Smith, Carl B. Squier, and Charles E. Taylor.
There are two components to the Portal of the Folded Wings. The monument and final resting place is usually open when the cemetery is open (closes at 6:00 pm). The Burbank Aviation Museum is the rooms within the monument that are opened with a docent from 1:00 to 3:00on Sunday afternoons (weather permitting).
Portal of the Folded Wings is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Valhalla Memorial Park
10621 Victory Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91606
It can also be seen from Valhalla Drive, off Hollywood Way, behind Fry's Electronics.
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I hope that you find this web site helpful. It started because of my love for Architecture and interest in History. I don't allow paid advertising (but this may change). This web site is for your benefit and enjoyment and I make no profit on it. For ten years it has been supported primarily from my regular paycheck as a Set Designer and there haven't been many the last few years. I can no longer run it without help. Alternative funding is needed. A non-tax deductable donation helps cover the cost of operating this web site and may be made to Kesign Design Consulting through PayPal.
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