East Sacramento cemetery marker recognizes woman with unique Hollywood connection

Tom Tolley, a technician at the Sacramento Public Library’s Central Library, assisted in research for the book, “Deadly Illusions: Jean Harlow and the Murder of Paul Bern.” Photo by Lance Armstrong

Tom Tolley, a technician at the Sacramento Public Library’s Central Library, assisted in research for the book, “Deadly Illusions: Jean Harlow and the Murder of Paul Bern.” Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part two in a two-part series about and related to Dorothy Millette Bern.

As presented in the first part of this series, a grave marker reading, Dorothy Millette Bern, lies at East Lawn Memorial Park in East Sacramento. And although that name may mean nothing to most Sacramentans today, there was a time when locals were well aware of details pertaining to Dorothy and her association with a real-life Hollywood mystery.
The year was 1932 and headlines of newspapers across the nation were announcing the latest daily news pertaining to the sudden death of the German-born Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film producer Paul Bern. He died in his Hollywood mansion two months after marrying the notable film actress Jean Harlow, and his remains were interred at the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood (Los Angeles County).
Also mentioned in the first part of this series was an article, which appeared in the Sept. 8, 1932 edition of The Sacramento Bee.
That Associated Press article noted that Paul had been married to another woman a decade earlier and that he was never divorced from the woman, who was “a mental incompetent in a New York sanatorium (sic).”
That woman was the former Dorothy Roddy, who became Dorothy Millette through her first marriage to Indianapolis newspaperman Lowell Millett (not Millette). That marriage ended in divorce in Tacoma, Wash. in 1911, and Dorothy later worked for a theatrical company in New York, before making her way to Canada.
Following Paul’s death, George G. Clarken, a Los Angeles life insurance man, who was Paul’s insurance adviser, revealed that insurance policies that were held by Paul were handled by a New York trust company for the benefit of Dorothy.
With that fact, Clarken believed that when Paul, in his alleged suicide note, referred to making “good the frightful wrong I have done you,” he was alluding to a possible marital tangle between himself and Harlow.
In a separate article on the same page, it was reported that New York attorney Henry Uttal had drawn up Paul’s will on Aug. 3, 1920, and that the will mentioned the name Dorothy.
Uttal was quoted in the article as saying, “I was always under the impression that Dorothy was his wife. I believe there was some legal marriage ceremony performed. I heard somewhere that Mrs. Bern had died in a sanitarium. (Paul) Bern had not mentioned her for years.”
It was also reported by the Associated Press that officials of the Hotel Algonquin in New York said that Dorothy had lived at the hotel for a decade under the name “Mrs. Paul Bern” and had regularly received checks signed, “Paul Bern.”
The hotel officials also claimed that Dorothy was visited by Paul at the hotel on an annual basis, and that she had ceased residing at the New York hotel a short time prior to Paul’s marriage to Harlow.
Dorothy once again made the news on Sept. 9, 1932.
The Bee then-reported that Dorothy had been a passenger on the Delta King during one of its voyages from San Francisco to Sacramento. She had, according to River Lines officials, boarded the vessel under the name of “D. Millette” on Sept. 6, 1932 at 5:30 p.m., a day following the announcement of Paul’s death.
Earlier in the day, a woman arrived at Plaza Hotel in San Francisco and registered as “D. Millette, New York City.”
It was also reported by The Bee that Dorothy, who had checked into the King’s stateroom No. 304, appeared to have been missing when the riverboat arrived at its destination, and that police believed that she had ended her life by leaping into the Sacramento River.
A coat and a pair of shoes that were identified as belonging to Dorothy were discovered on the boat’s observation deck, and a large portion of her belongings were discovered in her stateroom after the King docked in Sacramento.
H.L. Karrick, a passenger on the same Delta King voyage, would later say, “Everybody on the boat was watching (Dorothy). She kept wringing her hands and appeared to be weeping.”
Additionally, Karrick stated that he witnessed Dorothy standing by a rail of the ship and gazing into the water at 2:30 a.m., when he departed the vessel at Rio Vista.
In an article published in the Sept. 10, 1932 edition of The Sacramento Union, it was noted that based on the theory that she had jumped to her death in the river, constables and fisherman in every river township below the capital city were keeping a lookout for a floating body.
Meanwhile, faced with the possibility that Dorothy may have swum ashore and was still alive, and possibly involved in a suicide hoax, police also searched transportation systems and rooming houses.
Aiding in support of the then-theory that Dorothy committed suicide was the fact that $38 was found in her purse that had been left in her stateroom.
In a separate article in the Sept. 10, 1932 edition of The Union, it was reported that Henry Bern, a New York businessman and brother of Paul, had shared details about Paul and Dorothy’s relationship.
Henry described Dorothy and his brother as having met in a theatrical company in Canada – “probably in Toronto” – in about 1920. And he added that they had fallen in love, and after living together in Canada and later in New York, “Dorothy fell ill with a mental ailment that necessitated her confinement in a sanitarium.”
Research for this article revealed that the sanitarium referred to by Henry was the Blythewood Sanitarium in Greenwich, Conn.
In continuing to tell his story, Henry said, “Paul paid her bills. He came to California and after Dorothy was discharged from the sanitarium, not as cured but as harmless, Paul continued to provide for her. She lived at the (aforementioned) Algonquin Hotel in New York.”
Henry added that in April 1932, Dorothy visited him in New York and asked if he believed that California’s climate would be better for her health.
Shortly after that conversation, arrangements were made from Paul’s Hollywood office for Dorothy to become a resident of San Francisco.
Although Harlow insisted that she was unaware of the existence of Dorothy until after her husband’s death, it is at least a curious point to ponder whether it was only a coincidence that, on Aug. 18, 1932, Harlow and her mother registered at a San Francisco hotel that was located only a few blocks away from the hotel where Dorothy was residing.
About an hour after checking into the hotel, Harlow and her mother headed to Los Angeles. Harlow would later claim that she had received a message calling her back for a motion picture engagement.
Various accounts describe Paul as occasionally traveling to visit Dorothy.
The Union reported that by Sept. 11, 1932, the hunt to find Dorothy’s body in the river had not been successful.
However, during the search, the body of a man was found in the river, and coincidentally, in his pocket was a key for Delta King room No. 104.
The man was later identified as Z. Sadarian, a 50-year-old Armenian who was employed as a busboy at the coffee shop of Hotel Sacramento at 1107 10th St. and resided at the Golden Eagle Hotel at 627 K St.
Sadarian’s former employers stated that he had suffered from “delusions of persecution” and had disappeared after leaving his job on Sept. 3, 1932.
In the desperate search for clues pertaining to Dorothy’s disappearance, it was found that a trunk containing some of her possessions was located at the Plaza Hotel.
After a delay in which the hotel management refused to allow the police to search the trunk until they obtained a court order, it was found that the trunk contained no more than an expensive wardrobe and toiletry items.
While the trunk was under investigation, the San Francisco Examiner announced that it had located a handbag, which was the property of Dorothy.
Inside the handbag were several letters, one of which included a money order from Paul to Dorothy in the amount of $160. Bern was reported to have regularly sent Dorothy $350 per month for many years.
In another article in the Sept. 11, 1932 edition of The Union, it was reported that police had been informed that Dona Brenner, who resided with her husband George at 1228 ½ K St., had identified a woman fitting the description of Dorothy on K Street, between 9th and 10th streets. Dona said that the woman appeared to be distraught.
Although a statewide police search for Dorothy was reinstated, that search would be short lived.
On Sept. 15, 1932, The Union ran the front page headline, “Dorothy Millette’s body found in river.”
Y. Ishino, a Japanese ranch hand and fisherman, discovered the body in Georgiana Slough, which is located about 3 miles south of Walnut Grove and 31 miles southwest of Sacramento. Ishino had been picking grapes with his son along the bank of the slough.
In an article in the Sept. 17, 1932 edition of The Union, it was reported that simple services for Dorothy would be held later that day at funeral director and county coroner James R. Garlick’s funeral chapel at 2001-2003 P St.
That service was followed by another simple ceremony at the gravesite of Dorothy.
Following the latter service, funeral attendants lowered her white casket with silver handles into her open grave.
Although both Paul and Dorothy’s deaths were determined to be suicides, details pertaining to the causes of their deaths continue to spur controversial writings.
Those writings include those found in Samuel Marx and Joyce Vanderveen’s 1990 book, “Deadly Illusions: Jean Harlow and the Murder of Paul Bern.”
Last week, Tom Tolley, a technician at the Sacramento Public Library’s Central Library at 828 I St., recalled assisting in the research for that book.
“I was working the periodicals desk at (the) Central Library in the 1980s and had occasion to assist an elegant, older lady with microfilm from the local newspapers dating back to 1932,” Tolley said. “I noticed that she seemed to focus on the death of Dorothy Millette, the mysterious woman involved in the infamous Jean Harlow-Paul Bern Hollywood scandal in 1932. She introduced herself as Joyce Vanderveen and said she was working with former MGM story editor Samuel Marx on a book on that subject. Since I seemed to know so much about the case, she asked if I would be interested in assisting them with the research. So, I came in early and worked on lunch breaks going through issues of The Sacramento Union and (The) Sacramento Bee for a week or two until I had uncovered all the stories published during that period. They were based in Los Angeles, but came up to take photographs and conduct interviews. I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Marx when he was up with Miss Vanderveen during one visit. I wish I would have taken the opportunity to ask him any of a thousand questions about Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg and the legendary MGM stars, but we focused on the Millette mystery, which they unraveled in their interesting and informative book, “Deadly Illusions.” Being on that desk at just the right time is another one of those magic moments working at the Central Library for over 30 years have afforded me.”
Jean Harlow, who was the last central figure survivor of the Bern-Harlow real-life Hollywood mystery saga, died in Los Angeles County at the age of 26 from complications of uremic poisoning on June 7, 1937. She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale (Los Angeles County).

Lance@valcomnews.com

East Sacramento linked with real-life Hollywood mystery of 1930s

The grave of Dorothy Millette Bern is located at East Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The grave of Dorothy Millette Bern is located at East Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a two-part series about and related to Dorothy Millette Bern.

A fairly basic, flat grave marker with the name, Dorothy Millette Bern, on the north side of East Sacramento’s East Lawn Memorial Park generally receives no attention by visitors of that cemetery.
But then again, few visitors of East Lawn Memorial Park are aware of Dorothy and her association with a real-life Hollywood mystery of the 1930s.
Although the name, Dorothy Millette Bern, might as well be the name, Jane Doe, to most people today, Dorothy made front page news in September 1932.
That news was connected with the mysterious death of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film producer Paul Bern, who had married Jean Harlow, one of Hollywood’s most notable and beautiful actresses, on July 2, 1932.
Harlow had rose to fame through her starring role in the 1930 Howard Hughes produced war film, “Hell’s Angels.”
During her career, the platinum blonde actress appeared in various other movies, including six films with Clark Gable.
Paul Bern, who was born in Germany as Paul Levy on Dec. 3, 1889, was one of the six children of Julius and Henriette Levy. The family immigrated to the United States when Paul was 8 years old.
After taking an interest in drama, and studying, performing and managing in live theater in New York, Paul Bern – which was his adopted stage name – made his way to the Hollywood area in the early 1920s.
Paul experienced much success in California, as he would eventually become a film writer and director for Paramount Pictures Corp. and United Artists. And he later acquired his aforementioned position as an MGM producer.
On Monday, Sept. 5, 1932, Paul was discovered dead in his Bavarian-style mansion at 9860 Easton Drive in Beverly Hills.
His butler, John Carmichael, who was earning $3 per day for his work in the Easton Drive mansion, found him lying naked on a floor with a bullet wound in his head at about 11:45 a.m. But for some reason, the death was not reported until the passing of more than two and a half hours.
An alleged suicide note was discovered at the scene.
The note reads: “Dearest dear, Unfortunately this is the only way to make good the frightful wrong I have done you and to wipe out my abject humiliation, I love you. Paul. You understand last night was only a comedy.”
In her statement to the police regarding the note, Harlow said, “I have no idea what it means. This ‘frightful wrong’ he apparently believed he had done me is all a mystery. I can’t imagine what it means.”
And in regard to the topic of suicide, Harlow added, “Paul often talked to me of suicide as a general topic, but never once did he intimate that he himself contemplated such an act. There was nothing between us that I can think of that would have caused him to do this.”
Harlow’s comments to the police came only after she had delayed their questioning process due to what was being referred to at that time as her “hysterical” condition.
According to an article in the Sept. 7, 1932 edition of The Bee, Harlow was under heavy supervision at her mother’s home, where she had, during the previous day, “made a rush toward a balcony,” which was located about 10 feet above the ground below.
Louis B. Mayer, the Hollywood film executive who stopped Harlow from reaching the balcony, noted that at that point, Harlow said, “Let me go to him. He needs me. Is it too late?”

This alleged suicide note was left at the death scene of Hollywood film producer Paul Bern. public domain

This alleged suicide note was left at the death scene of Hollywood film producer Paul Bern. public domain

Just prior to his death, Paul seemed to have been experiencing the type of life that many people dream about living.
Paul had a successful career in a field in which he loved, and he was residing in his two-year-old mansion with his new, young wife, Jean Harlow.
The news of Paul’s death certainly came as a shock to many people.
In supporting Harlow’s words, The Bee, on Sept. 6, 1932, reported that although it was believed that Paul had apparently committed suicide, it had not been determined why he would have killed himself.
Also supporting Harlow’s words, Marino Bello, Harlow’s stepfather, noted that Paul had often spoken about suicide.
Bello was quoted in the Sept. 6, 1932 article as saying, “I was told that as recently as three weeks ago, (Paul) Bern had said he did not expect to live out a normal span of life.”
A police investigation revealed that the last book Paul had been reading had the title, “Violence,” and that the book concluded with a sudden death.
In denying that the couple was quarrelsome, Bello said, “They were deeply in love and (Paul) was the most considerate of husbands to her.”
In the same addition of The Bee was a separate article explaining that Slavka Vorkapich, who lived a short distance from Paul’s home, had, along with his family, been awakened by “the roar of (a) car’s engine” during the early hours of the morning that Paul’s body was discovered.
Adding to the mystery of Paul’s death were conflicting stories regarding the whereabouts of Paul and Harlow during the weekend leading up to the discovery of his body.
On Sept. 8, 1932, a coroner’s jury of six men came to the conclusion that Paul was killed “by a gunshot wound in the head with suicidal intent.” But the jury declared the motive as being “undetermined.”
Due to her emotional state, Harlow was excused from presenting her testimony during the proceedings.
Another twist in the Paul Bern-Jean Harlow saga was presented in the Sept. 8, 1932 edition of The Bee.
It was noted that during that same day, George G. Clarken, a Los Angeles life insurance man, who was Paul’s insurance adviser, had revealed that Paul never divorced a woman who he had married a decade earlier.

Lance@valcomnews.com

East Lawn Memorial Park reaches 100,000th interment mark with burial of Eppie Johnson

Eppie Johnson sits in his former office at the Imperial 400 Motel – Econo Lodge as of Oct. 30, 2013 – at 30th and N streets. Photo courtesy of Eppie Johnson

Eppie Johnson sits in his former office at the Imperial 400 Motel – Econo Lodge as of Oct. 30, 2013 – at 30th and N streets. Photo courtesy of Eppie Johnson

After more than a century of serving the public, East Lawn Memorial Park recently reached a particular milestone with its 100,000th interment – that of Eppaminondas George “Eppie” Johnson, who gained much notoriety for his chain of Eppie’s restaurants, and who founded one of the city’s better known annual events, Eppie’s Great Race.
In speaking about the fact that his late father became the 100,000th person to be interred at the cemetery, which was established in October 1904, George Eppaminondas Johnson II said, “First of all, it blows my mind that so many people are (interred) there. I thought that was remarkable. Probably from the standpoint that it’s like, yet again, it’s sort of another achievement, you know, notch in the wall for my dad. It’s obviously sheer, absolute luck that it happened to be him (who became the 100,000th interment). He would have loved that (trivial fact). He would have told everybody about it, and he probably is (telling everybody), just upstairs. So, I just think that’s sort of neat. It’s just part of who he was. If it was going to happen to anybody, it would happen to him, so he could brag about it.”
George II, his sister, Lisa (Johnson) Mangels, and many other people who knew Eppie well recognized him as a charismatic character who enjoyed interacting with others.
As an example of his father’s showmanship and what he referred to as a “generously sized ego,” George II explained part of the reason why his father maintained his Eppie’s restaurants for so many years.
“For (Eppie), one of the things that kept him from selling the restaurants and had him hang on to them longer than he probably should have was (the restaurants) were him,” George II said. “It was his identity. His name was up in lights, so to speak, with all these signs or whatever.”
And Eppie’s own physical identity was great, as well, as he attracted attention for his colorful, flashy clothing; thick, wavy hair; stylish facial hair; blue eyes; and outgoing demeanor for many years.
In his latter years, Eppie was still a man who never shied away from the limelight.
Long before Eppie became a well known figure in the Sacramento area, he had spent many years living on the East Coast.
Eppie’s life began on May 7, 1928, when he was born to his parents, George Eppaminondas Johnson I (1898-1979) and Anastasia “Fotini” (Mousmoules) Johnson (1904-1962). He was raised in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. and had one sibling, Paula (Johnson) Alexander (1925-2000).
Eppie’s parents divorced in the 1940s, and Eppie was raised by his mother, who brought income to her family through her work in a millinery shop.
Eppie’s father, who was a native of Broussa, Turkey, relocated to Reno and he later moved to Sacramento.
George I was a well-known businessman, who gained much notoriety in Sacramento through his Del Prado Restaurant, which was located at 5500 Stockton Blvd. He was also recognized in other circles, as he was an essential member of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Sacramento and a nationally-known figure in Democratic politics.
While growing up in Astoria, Eppie was involved in lifeguarding and in the Boy Scouts. He eventually became a Life Scout, which is one rank below Eagle Scout, the program’s highest attainable rank.
An early advertisement for Eppie’s Coffee Shop shows an image of Eppie Johnson with his goatee look, which he began to sport in 1960, four years before the opening of his first restaurant. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

An early advertisement for Eppie’s Coffee Shop shows an image of Eppie Johnson with his goatee look, which he began to sport in 1960, four years before the opening of his first restaurant. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Eppie later attended New York University, and the University of Nevada, Reno, where he was active in the ROTC. And following his graduation from the latter named institution, he served in the Army.
In 1950, Eppie moved to Sacramento to assist his father at Del Prado Restaurant.
Last week, George II spoke about the moment that led to his father’s solo venture in the restaurant field.
“After my dad got fired for the second time by his dad, that’s when my dad said, ‘Forget this, I’m going off on my own.’ His father said, ‘You’ll never make it on your own without my help.’ And so, of course, that fueled the fire even more to say, ‘I’m going to prove you wrong.’”
Eppie ultimately established his own catering business, and he catered to many functions, including store openings on the K Street Mall.
In 1964, Eppie made a major career move when he opened Eppie’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop at 3001 N St., where an IHOP restaurant now operates.
From that point, Eppie began establishing other Eppie’s locations, including sites in Las Vegas, Cameron Park, Turlock and other Sacramento area locations such as 6341 Florin Road, 4600 Madison Ave., 2525 Watt Ave. and 4657 West Capitol Ave.
Adding to his accomplishments with Eppie’s restaurants, Eppie also had several restaurants, called Eppaminondas. These restaurants, which opened in the late 1970s, were located at Cal Expo, in Rancho Cordova and in Stockton.
Eppie, who was married to Nancy C. Johnson for 29 years before their marriage ended in divorce in about 1983, also purchased tennis clubs in Davis and in the south area at 6000 South Land Park Drive.
Although Eppie no longer owned any restaurants or tennis clubs at the time of his death, the old West Sacramento Eppie’s continues to operate under a different ownership that has no association with the Johnson family.
As for his aforementioned founding of Eppie’s Great Race, George II said, “How Eppie’s Great Race came to be was (Eppie) and a good friend of his who happened to be a K2 ski rep were skiing. They were chitchatting and (the friend) said, ‘You know, Eppie, we ought to do a triathlon.’ (Eppie) said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘We ought to ski from the top of Alpine Meadows down to the bottom, run out to the Truckee River and kayak down the Truckee River into Truckee.’ My dad said, ‘That sounds like a great idea, but I don’t have any restaurants up in Tahoe.’ So, that planted the seed and two or three weeks later, my dad thought, ‘Aha, I know what we can do.’ He was a promotion guy and he wanted to promote his restaurants. He said, ‘We’ll start out at the Eppaminondas – which is now Hooters – at Zinfandel (Drive) and (Highway) 50 (in Rancho Cordova), winds through Rancho Cordova and Sacramento to wind up at the Eppie’s – which is now the Outback Steakhouse – on Howe Avenue. So, that is where the idea was born.”
Eventually, the race, which originally supported the Aquarian Effort (today’s WellSpace Health), was relocated to the American River Parkway.
The nonprofit race, which is billed as “The World’s Oldest Triathlon” and is recognized as the nation’s largest paddling event, celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.
It consists of a 5.82-mile running stage, a 12.5-mile bicycle stage and a 6.35-mile kayaking stage.
The current primary benefactor of the event is Sacramento County Therapeutic Recreation Services. The race has raised more than $1 million for that organization.
Eppie passed away at the age of 85 on Sept. 16 and was interred at East Lawn Memorial Park eight days later.
In understanding both the importance of East Lawn, “which stands as a guardian of history from generation to generation by preserving individual, family and community heritage,” and the impact Eppie made on the community, East Lawn President Alan Fisher said, “It may well be fitting that the person with this household name in Sacramento became our 100,000th interment at East Lawn Memorial Park.”

Lance@valcomnews.com

East Lawn Children’s Park was established through generous donations

East Lawn Children’s Park at the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Folsom Boulevard was constructed in 1989. Photo by Lance Armstrong

East Lawn Children’s Park at the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Folsom Boulevard was constructed in 1989. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part 14 in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.

It may be one of the city’s smallest parks, but East Lawn Children’s Park at 1510 42nd St., at Folsom Boulevard, certainly draws its fair share of daily visitors.
Once a part of the grounds of East Lawn Memorial Park, this 153-foot by 99-foot park provides plenty of space for its young visitors, who enjoy spending time in its tot play area.
Encompassing the space of about three single-family home lots, the park, which is a tot in its own right when compared to the majority of the city’s parks, is sufficient in size for the neighborhood it serves.
Efforts to have a city park constructed at the site date back to December 1985, when the owners of the nondenominational cemetery first considered donating the property to the city.
In August 1986, East Lawn’s owners finally made an official offer to the city, as they agreed to deed the property to the city, build a park on the site and operate it for 10 years.
East Lawn’s only stipulation for the donation and construction of the park, which had an estimated value of $150,000, was that it be allowed to name the park.
Prior to East Lawn’s announcement, many residents of the area had been concerned that the site, which had sat undeveloped for decades, might be used for an apartment complex or office structure.
Although many neighbors of the site also demonstrated strong opposition to the then-proposed park, it was reported in the Oct. 17, 1986 edition of The Sacramento Union that their tone had changed and that they had become hopeful that the city would accept the cemetery’s offer.
The neighbors’ early concern, according to The Union, was that the presence of a park at the site would attract “rowdies to the quiet neighborhood.”
The property’s eventual use as a children’s park with the lack of amenities such as picnic tables, tennis court and restrooms represents a compromise to those neighbors’ concern regarding the site’s establishment as a park.
Craig Peterson, East Lawn Memorial Park manager, explained that the idea of a children’s park was not entirely well received.
“There were some neighbor ladies waving diapers on poles (near the site),” Peterson said. “They didn’t want dirty diapers in the park.”
Although their wish was not granted, some neighbors requested that the site not be referred to as a park, as they feared that the name would attract “undesirables.”
Neighbors were also concerned with the timing of the cemetery’s attempt to donate the property to the city, since that attempt was made at about the same time that East Lawn applied for a permit to add a mortuary on its grounds. Protests by neighborhood residents led to the end of East Lawn’s drive to add a mortuary to its property.
But with an eventual overall approval for the park from neighbors and the completion of a carefully written agreement, the donation of the park site was accepted by the city council on Dec. 16, 1986. The park was also approved by the city Planning Commission about two months later.
When Don Hart was named as East Lawn’s president in March 1988, the park had yet to be constructed.
During the following May, East Lawn, which had an escape clause in its pact on the property with the city, requested and was granted a delay in its donation while Hart became familiar with his then-new position.
Some supporters of the park project feared that the delay might be a sign that East Lawn would renege on the donation.
On June 23, 1988, The Sacramento Bee reported that East Lawn had decided to honor its donation, but that the cemetery was no longer offering $50,000 worth of improvements and 10 years of park maintenance.
It was also reported in the article that a pro-park campaign led by neighborhood resident Cindy Leathers influenced the cemetery board’s decision to complete its donation. The campaign resulted in about 200 postcards and a petition, which were delivered to Hart’s office. The petition was signed by about 500 local residents.
In another article, which was published on Sept. 8, 1988, The Union reported that city park officials had accepted the 42nd Street and Folsom Boulevard parcel for use as a city park. But it was also noted in the article that the property “must await development, because the city has no money available.”
An update regarding the site appeared in the June 1, 1989 edition of The Bee.
In that update it was noted that “a frenzy of philanthropy is transforming a simple patch of ground into a full-blown East Sacramento park – the East Lawn Children’s Park.”
The article noted that local businesses and neighbors contributed labor, materials and money to establish the park.
This type of action was not unprecedented at park sites in Sacramento.
For instance, similar action was taken by people in the community to establish East Sacramento’s East Portal Park and Portuguese Community Park in the Pocket area.
Donations for the East Lawn project included $20,000 from the Rotary Club of East Sacramento, $15,000 from a single fundraising event that was attended by about 150 community members, and sand for the sandboxes from Geremia Pools.
According to the article, the park’s new playground would be completed in about one to two months.
Among the improvements to the site were a children’s play area and a new fence that replaced the site’s aging, 3-foot-tall fence.
Last week, East Sacramento residents Doug Pope and Terry Kastanis, who were serving as members of the city council during the city’s involvement with the East Lawn park project, reflected upon their memories of the site.
Pope, who represented East Sacramento as a member of the council from 1977 to 1989, said, “There was a period of time (that passed) from when East Lawn said that they wanted to make the donation. Actually, preceding that donation was a lot of discussion with East Lawn about their future plans for that parcel. Those discussions ultimately led to them making a decision that they would donate it for neighborhood use.
“(Prior to the creation of the city park, the site) was actually being used (by the community for such things as touch football and fly-casting practice). I don’t remember if it was actually mowed though. It was kind of a little bit of an eyesore, if I recall right. But it was being used. (The idea) was to clean (the site) up and make it usable for the neighborhood. For a period of time, there were – and there still are, I think – young families around there. It was a good use of a piece of land, and they let the young kids go around there and play.
“I think it’s a great amenity in the neighborhood and it looks really nice. It’s kept up well. I’m not close to it, so I’m not aware that they’ve had any issues, but I don’t believe they’ve had any issues. But it looks great and you can go by and you see people using it all the time, which is what it’s meant for, so it’s really gratifying to see that occur. It’s matured just fantastic. It has turned out to be I think better than everyone envisioned.”
In remembering the process, which led to the creation of the park, Kastanis, who served on the council from 1981 to 1994, said, “It was kind of like East Lawn didn’t know quite what to do with (the property). It was just vacant land that East Lawn had. It was kind of a hangout and people were kind of congregating there. I think they started using it like a park and finally East Lawn relented and gave it to the city as the East Lawn park.
“It was a great community gesture on the part of East Lawn. They didn’t have to do that and they gave that property to the city for a park, and I think that’s commendable.”

East Lawn Memorial Park history includes nursery, florist

Greenhouses at East Lawn Nursery are shown in this historic photograph. Photo courtesy of East Lawn Memorial Park
Greenhouses at East Lawn Nursery are shown in this historic photograph. Photo courtesy of East Lawn Memorial Park
Editor’s Note: This is part 13 in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.

Among the features of East Lawn Memorial Park is a full-service florist, which has been serving the community for more than a century. And the cemetery’s history also includes a nursery, which is no longer in existence.
Although an early promotional booklet for the cemetery places the majority of its attention on East Lawn’s 1926 mausoleum, it does dedicate an entire page to the flower shop and nursery.
Included on that page are the following words: “Many years ago, East Lawn established the floral shop and nursery to fill its own needs for quality flowers, shrubs and trees.
“Shortly thereafter, these facilities were expanded to permit the nursery and flower shop to serve the general public.
“The constantly growing demand for top quality flowers and nursery stock has led to successive additions, until today the nursery and flower shop have more than six acres of display rooms, greenhouses and growing grounds.
“A member of the nationwide Florist Telegraph Delivery Association, the flower shop supplies bouquets, corsages, plants and special arrangements for all occasions. Visitors are always welcome.”
The 1911 city directory includes an advertisement for what was then known as East Lawn Conservatories.
This business, which was located on the cemetery grounds, was noted to offer floral designs and set pieces, shrubs, plants and shade trees, and the “best service in city at lowest prices.”
The manager of the “conservatories” at that time was Ivar A. Nyquist, who was also serving as the cemetery’s superintendent.
Ivar was recognized in the 1910 U.S. Census as a 29-year-old Finland native, who was employed as a cemetery gardener and resided on M Street (Folsom Boulevard) with his 23-year-old wife, Lydia, and his 7-year-old son, Ivar, Jr.
The superintendent of the cemetery in 1910 was Herbert W. Hand, who by the following year was working as a salesman for the local real estate and insurance company of Charles E. Kleinsorge and Otto F. Heilbron.
By 1912, Robert Armstrong was serving as superintendent of the East Lawn Cemetery and manager of East Lawn Conservatories.
A 1914 advertisement for the conservatories noted that the business offered cut flowers and a “full line of everything for the garden.”
Two years later, former East Lawn assistant secretary Andrew Cruikshanks (1874-1961) replaced Armstrong as cemetery superintendent and manager of the conservatories, which were then being referred to as the East Lawn Nursery.
In 1927, Dolph A. Wiedenmen replaced Cruishanks as the nursery’s manager, but Cruishanks, who resided for many years at 1540 46th St., remained the cemetery’s superintendent until 1939.
The nursery had a new manager in 1928, as it was then under the direction of Robert Hughes, who resided just east of the cemetery at 4638 Buckingham Way.
A

A selection of plants is on display in this early view at East Lawn Nursery. Photo courtesy of East Lawn Memorial Park

A selection of plants is on display in this early view at East Lawn Nursery. Photo courtesy of East Lawn Memorial Park

lfred O. “Fred” Fick began his longtime association with East Lawn three years later, when he moved to 1133 35th St. and began working as a chauffeur for the East Lawn Nursery. He eventually served as the nursery’s manager for many years.
Fred, who began residing in East Sacramento with his wife, Druscilla “Dru” in 1936, moved to a home on the cemetery grounds in 1947.
Despite moving from that home a decade later, Fred, who with Dru had a daughter named Carol, continued to serve as the nursery’s manager until about 1974.
Another person who dedicated many years to the nursery was a florist named Armand “Mandy” Guidotti, who resided with his wife, Katie, at 1070 55th St.
After leaving his position as a florist at the now 92-year-old Sacramento business, G. Rossi & Co., at 1026 8th St. in about 1941, Mandy spent about the next 30 years working at the East Lawn Nursery.
Many cemetery visitors were assisted by Mandy, who served as head of the nursery’s flower shop.
East Sacramento’s Rust Florist at 5215 Folsom Blvd. is directly linked to the old East Lawn flower shop, as Joseph F. “Joe” Rust opened Rust Florist in 1970 after working at the old cemetery flower shop for the previous 25 years.
Joe, who was the business’s head designer, and his wife, Katherine, raised nine children, George, Larry, Dennis, Loretta, Greg, Mary Rose, Marty, Dolores and Vickie.
In sharing his memories about the cemetery’s florist, Marty recalled that the business also had about five designers.
He also noted that about three, old greenhouses, which were eliminated in about 1981, stood behind the flower shop, which is still in operation near the cemetery entrance gate at 46th Street.
Antone J. Niederost was serving as general manager of the nursery at the time of its closure about 32 years ago. And with the nursery’s demise, Niederost retired.
Marty is one of very few people who can honestly tell one that he was a living resident at East Lawn.
“There were three (houses) there (at East Lawn),” Marty said. “We lived in the last (house). Those homes are all gone. Two of them were kind of small. I think they were two-bedroom homes. But our house was a bigger one. It was a two-story, four-bedroom home, with a bath and a half, a kitchen and a living room and a family room. The dining room table was in the kitchen, so it wasn’t a real big kitchen. It was like a concrete house. It was cold in the winter and it was hot in the summer. It had a fireplace and one of those old-fashioned floor heaters and a couple of balconies. It was kind of an unusual house.”
Marty recalled when Fred Fick was his family’s neighbor, and added that East Lawn nurseryman Robert R. “Bob” Johnson lived in the other house on the cemetery grounds.
And in explaining how his father became involved with East Lawn, Marty said, “(Fred) is the one who brought my dad over (to East Lawn). They were both Swiss. I think he felt like (Joe, who was born in Oregon) was a fellow countryman, so he talked my dad (who was working as a machinist for the Southern Pacific Co.) into coming to work at East Lawn.”
The Rust family, as Marty recalled, moved away from their home at the cemetery during the late summer of 1969.
Despite the fact that East Lawn Florist continues to add to its long history, many cemetery visitors are still unaware of its existence.
Jim Miller, who has been operating East Lawn Florist for about the past 25 years, said that part of the reason for that situation is the florist’s physical address.
“Our address is 4590 Folsom Blvd., officially, but a lot of people come up to that spot on Folsom (Boulevard) and they don’t see a flower shop there, because we’re down the driveway,” Jim said.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Davis as part of the Class of 1975, Jim decided to take a different direction in life.
Jim, after becoming interested in the idea of operating his own florist, trained at a floral school, and operated The Flower Mill florist at 5363 Elkhorn Blvd. for about a decade prior to his time with East Lawn Florist.
In discussing the latter named florist, Jim, who has a wife named Patricia, a son named Christopher, two daughters, Susie and Jenny, and a granddaughter named Chloe, said, “We try to maintain a quality flower shop in the tradition of East Lawn. East Lawn is probably the oldest flower shop in Sacramento. Many of our customers are East Lawn customers, so we try to maintain that connection with the East Lawn family, and operate within the East Lawn community, as well as the Sacramento community, not just for funeral needs, but also for the quality needs of a full-service florist. We do weddings, we do anniversaries. Many things that a lot of customers don’t expect us to do, we do as a full-service florist. And there’s great parking here!”
East Lawn Florist is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For additional information about this business, call (916) 732-2016 or visit the Web site www.eastlawn.com.

Former mayors, other notables memorialized at East Lawn Memorial Park

The final resting place of early Sacramento hotel and land owner, William Land, sits on the highest level of East Lawn Memorial Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The final resting place of early Sacramento hotel and land owner, William Land, sits on the highest level of East Lawn Memorial Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part 12 in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.

East Lawn Memorial Park, as has been presented in other articles of this series, serves as the resting place for former notable Sacramentans. And with a walk around this historic cemetery, one can encounter the names of many more people who achieved noteworthy statuses during their lifetimes.
Among those memorialized at East Lawn Memorial Park are city mayors.

William Land
One of these mayors, William Land (1837-1911), had his legacy preserved through Sacramento’s grand William Land Park and a local elementary school bearing his name.
Land, a New York native who served as Sacramento’s mayor in 1898 and 1899, bequeathed $250,000 to the city for the purchase of property to establish William Land Park.
This former mayor also founded the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce – today’s Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce – and was the proprietor of local hotels.
In addition to his ownership of local hotels, Land also held large real estate interests in stock and grain ranches.
It is quite simple to locate the resting place of William Land, as he was entombed within a large, white, columned, Greek-inspired mausoleum on the cemetery’s highest elevation.

Clinton L. White
Another former Sacramento mayor, Clinton L. White (1850-1925), was also interred at this featured cemetery.
Long before he began his term as Sacramento’s mayor in 1908, Clinton, who was a native of Iowa, taught school in Placer County.
In 1877, he became an attorney and wrote a criminal law book, which was published in 1879.
Clinton served as secretary of the judiciary committee of the California State Senate in 1880 and 1881.
He was, at separate times, a partner in several law firms, including White, Miller & McLaughlin, which was located in the People’s Bank Building at 8th and J streets.
Together with his wife, the former Olive Margaret McKinney, he had two children, Herbert E. and Edith M. White.
Clinton L. White officially stepped away from his mayoral duties on Jan. 7, 1910, when Marshall Beard began his second term as mayor.
William Alpheus “Jimmie” Hicks
New York native William Alpheus “Jimmie” Hicks (1906-1961) had an eventful employment career, which included working as a newspaper columnist, editor of The Sacramento Valley Union Labor Bulletin and a postman.
While serving as Sacramento’s mayor in 1954, he resigned after being appointed deputy director of the state Department of Employment by Gov. Goodwin Knight.
William was married to the former Bertha Vivian Nelson for 30 years and together they had two children, Betty Marie (Hicks) Hogue and Nancy Anne (Hicks) Parson.

Hiram H. “Hi” Hendren
Hiram H. “Hi” Hendren (1903-1977), who served as the city’s mayor in 1954 and 1955, began his political life when he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the city council in December 1948.
Among his notable accomplishments was his founding of the Sacramento Valley Insurance Agency in 1934.
Additionally, Hiram, who was a native of Sacramento, provided much assistance to the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and the Volunteers of America.
He also served as co-chairman of the Citizens Committee for Good City Government and played an essential role in construction planning for the Sacramento Community Center.
In a timely awarded honor, Hiram was named “Sacramentan of the Year” by the chamber of commerce six months prior to his death at Sutter Memorial Hospital on July 4, 1977.

Former Mayor Joe Serna, Jr. was laid to rest at East Lawn Memorial Park in 1999. Photo courtesy of East Lawn Memorial Park

Former Mayor Joe Serna, Jr. was laid to rest at East Lawn Memorial Park in 1999. Photo courtesy of East Lawn Memorial Park

Joe Serna, Jr.
Joe Serna, Jr., who was interred at East Lawn Memorial Park following his death at the age of 60 on Nov. 7, 1999, passed away during his sixth year as the city’s mayor.
He was considered one of Sacramento’s most popular mayors and has the notoriety of being the city’s first and only Latino mayor. He was also a professor at Sacramento State University.
Serna, who was the son of migrant farm workers and a supporter of the United Farm Workers of America, worked toward revitalizing downtown Sacramento and renamed the park across from city hall, Cesar E. Chavez Plaza.
In 2001, in honor of the life of Serna, the 25-story Cal EPA Building at the northeast corner of 10th and I streets was renamed the Joe Serna, Jr. EPA Building.
Additionally, the Sacramento City Unified School District’s office at 5735 47th Ave. is known as the Serna Center.

William Albert Curtis
Massachusetts native William Albert Curtis (1857-1914), who was interred in a family mausoleum at East Lawn Cemetery, came to the Sacramento area when he was about 14 years old.
About a decade later, Curtis, with W. H. Wood, established the Sacramento wholesale produce and fruit packing and shipping firm, Wood, Curtis Co.
Curtis, who later founded a similar firm, the William A. Curtis Company, in San Francisco, was an extensive land owner in the Sacramento Valley and served as vice president of the California National Bank, of Sacramento.
Prior to his death on Dec. 27, 1914, Curtis had established himself as one of the city’s wealthiest residents.

The gravesite of Newton Jasper Earp (1837-1928) is located on the west side of the cemetery. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The gravesite of Newton Jasper Earp (1837-1928) is located on the west side of the cemetery. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Newton Jasper Earp
Many visitors of East Lawn Memorial Park enjoy visiting the gravesite of Newton Jasper Earp (1837-1928), the half-brother of Wyatt Earp (1848-1929), the notorious deputy town marshal who participated in the legendary gunfight at O.K. Corral in 1881.
The employment history of Newton, who was a veteran of the Civil War, included working as a farmer, a saloon manager and a carpenter.
Newton had a wife named Jennie, and five children, Effie May, Wyatt Clyde, Mary Elizabeth, Alice Abigail and Virgil Edwin.
At the time of his death, Newton was residing at 4426 10th Ave.

RAF Officers
Four Royal Air Force officers were interred at the cemetery in 1943 after being killed in a crash of an American aircraft in the Fair Oaks area.
The men, Fred Hodge, John R. Latour-Eppy, John H.G. Moriarty and James A. Paterson, had been testing the aircraft, and RAF pilots and co-pilots had made 12 successful flights prior to the crash.
Although these men’s graves are occasionally inspected by a British official, no attempt has been made to return their remains to their native land.

Gypsy king
On Feb. 1, 1947, The New York Times published an article with the headline, “Gypsies bury leader.”
The Associated Press report noted that during the previous day, “laughing and crying” Serbian gypsies gathered at the East Lawn Cemetery to pay tribute to the life of Dushon John (1879-1947), their “unofficial western king.”
The laughter, according to the article, occurred because it was the gypsies’ custom to “send their people into the hereafter under joyful circumstances.”
The gathering included the toasting of beer and soft drinks to the music of a 12-piece band from Sacramento.
John, who was a native of Belgrade, was buried with a mirror, hair oil, a toothbrush and other such items for his journey into the future.
Other notable people interred at East Lawn
East Lawn Memorial Park is the resting place of many other notable people, including Florence Clunie, who willed $150,000 to the city for the construction of a clubhouse and swimming pool at East Sacramento’s McKinley Park.
Also interred at East lawn are James R. Garlick (1888-1962), a former funeral director, county supervisor and city Board of Education member; Frank M. Jordan (1888-1970), who served as the secretary of state from 1942 to 1970; and B.T. Collins (1940-1993), who served as a state assemblyman, chief deputy to the state treasurer and a director of the California Youth Authority and the California Conservation Corps.

East Lawn Memorial Park is home to notables of the past

An American flag adorns the gravesite of Robert T. Matsui at East Lawn Memorial Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

An American flag adorns the gravesite of Robert T. Matsui at East Lawn Memorial Park. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part 11 in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.

East Lawn Memorial Park serves as the resting place for many notable Sacramentans of the past.
In addition to those who have been featured in previous articles of this series, there are many others who were interred at East Lawn who have stories worth being retold.
One of the more notable people who made their post mortem home at East Lawn was movie and television actor Neville Brand (1920-1992), who was interred in the two-story mausoleum at East Lawn.
Brand, who was born in Griswold, Iowa and raised in Kewanee, Ill., served in the Army as a platoon sergeant in Europe during World War II.

Robert T. Matsui (1941-2005) was one of the most notable Sacramento-born politicians. Photo courtesy of East Lawn Memorial Park

Robert T. Matsui (1941-2005) was one of the most notable Sacramento-born politicians. Photo courtesy of East Lawn Memorial Park

His many Army decorations included a Purple Heart, as he was struck by a bullet in his right arm.
After residing in New York’s famed Greenwich Village, working in off-Broadway shows and attending drama school in Los Angeles, Brand began his film career in Hollywood in 1949.
Among the films Brand appeared in were “Stalag 17” (1953) with William Holden, “Love Me Tender” (1956) with Elvis Presley, and “Bird Man of Alcatraz” (1962) with Burt Lancaster.
On television, Brand was seen playing roles in episodes of such series as “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide,” “Tarzan” and “Kojak.”
Brand, who resided in Sacramento for about the last decade of his life, passed away at Sutter General Hospital on April 16, 1992, three days shy of his 72nd birthday.
When it comes to music, East Lawn is well represented through Dick Jurgens (1910-1995), who gained his fame as a prominent composer and big-band leader during the 1930s and 1940s.
Jurgens, who was a 1933 graduate of Sacramento Junior College (now Sacramento City College), wrote his theme song, “Day Dreams Come True at Night,” in the college’s instrumentation class of music, which was led by its director David Burnham.
While attending the college, Jurgens and his orchestra performed at school events, including a Halloween dance on Oct. 30, 1931 and the Art Ball on Nov. 7, 1931.
Jurgens signed with Decca Records in the 1930s and performed at various sized venues in Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Catalina Island, Chicago, Denver and elsewhere.
Today, there are many people who grew up in Sacramento during the big-band era who recall the music of Dick Jurgens.
The marker on Jurgens’ grave appropriately includes a G clef musical symbol and the words, “Day Dreams Come True at Night.”
Also interred at East Lawn was Democrat Robert Takeo “Bob” Matsui (1941-2005), one of the most notable Sacramento-born politicians.
After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 1963 and the Hastings College of Law three years later, Matsui founded his own law practice at 1214 F St. in 1967.
During the 1970s, he served as a member of the city council, including his time as the city’s vice mayor in 1977.
A year later, Matsui was elected to Congress, following the retirement of Rep. John E. Moss, and he represented Sacramento in the U. S. House of Representatives for a quarter century.
Matsui, who was interred at the Tule Lake, Calif. relocation center with his family following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, co-sponsored a 1988 law that preceded the federal government dispersing $1.6 billion to Japanese-Americans, who had been interned and their heirs.

Dick Jurgens gained his fame as a prominent composer and big-band leader during the 1930s and 1940s. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Dick Jurgens gained his fame as a prominent composer and big-band leader during the 1930s and 1940s. Photo by Lance Armstrong

His activities also included leading the congressional effort to preserve Social Security and serving as regent of the Smithsonian Institution.
Locally, Matsui was a leader in the efforts to ensure federal assistance for flood control, light rail, parks and housing projects.
In response to the news of Matsui’s passing, former President Bill Clinton and his wife, U. S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, issued a statement, which, in part, read: “Bob Matsui leaves behind a rich legacy of service that improved the lives of his own constituents, all Americans and people throughout the world. He also leaves a loving family and a legions (sic) of friends who were touched by his grace and goodness.”
Another notable Sacramentan who was interred at East Lawn was Frank Fat (1904-1997), the founder of Frank Fat’s restaurant at 806 L St.
Today, this business has the notoriety of being Sacramento’s oldest eatery that has been operated by one family in the same location.
An early advertisement for Fat’s restaurant reads: “Most beautiful Chinese café, regular Chinese and American dinners served daily, featuring charcoal-broiled steer steaks, private banquet room for parties, clubs, lodges, etc., finest mixed drinks served in our cocktail lounge.”
As the popularity of Fat’s restaurant grew, so did the number of the Fat family’s restaurants. The first of these non-L Street restaurants was located at 2312 Watt Ave. in Country Club Plaza, accompanying the Stop-N-Shop grocery store in the Gourmet Lane food court.
Fat, a Canton, China immigrant who interacted with many notable political figures at his L Street restaurant, would eventually become involved in politics himself. This involvement included his work as a lobbyist for the interests of Chinese-Americans.
He later assisted in the founding of the Chinese-American Council of Sacramento.
Fat retired from his many years in the restaurant industry in 1971 and passed away on April 5, 1997, about a month prior to his 93rd birthday.

Buffalo Brewery men were interred at East Lawn Memorial Park

Editor’s Note: This is part 10 in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.

Sacramento has been known as a political city, a city of trees and many other things during a large portion of its existence. And among its greatest achievements was becoming a city of breweries, which included the Buffalo Brewing Company.
In the previous article of this series, Philip Scheld, who was interred at East Lawn Cemetery (today’s East Lawn Memorial Park), was celebrated for his proprietorship of the Sacramento Brewery, which was established a short distance from Sutter’s Fort in 1849.
Many other breweries were opened in the capital city during the 19th century.
An example of the production of local breweries during the 19th century was recorded in the county assessment books for 1872.
This source notes that in that year, Sacramento had eight breweries that produced 252,000 gallons of beer.
Furthermore, according to the 1880 book, “The History of Sacramento County, California,” the area’s eight local breweries in 1878 “made, in aggregate, 530,200 gallons of beer, and in 1879, 560,000 (gallons of beer).”
With a walk around East Lawn Memorial Park, one can find the final resting places of several men who were associated with the Buffalo Brewing Company, which was also known as the Buffalo Brewery, and was for many years under the direction of Buffalo Brewery, Inc.
Certainly the most notable of these brewery men were the German-born Herman H. Grau (1846-1915) and William E. Gerber (1852-1928), who were both interred at East Lawn Cemetery.
Herman, a former East Coast brewer who came to Sacramento from Buffalo, N.Y. in about 1886, was the man who organized the Buffalo Brewery, which would eventually become the largest brewery west of the Mississippi.
At the age of 12, Herman came to America and settled in Buffalo, N.Y.
Along with his wife, New York native J.F. Bertha (Ziegele) Grau (1848-1915), who he married in Buffalo prior to coming to Sacramento, Herman had nine children.
Herman’s association with William became an important part of the city’s brewery history, as these men laid out the plans for the Buffalo Brewery.
In addition to his involvement with the Buffalo Brewery, William, a New York native who came to Sacramento in 1860 and was eventually the secretary of the Buffalo Brewery, served, at different times during his life, as president of the California National Bank and chairman of that bank’s board.
William, who studied in Sacramento schools and the St. Louis Academy and at a business school in Buffalo, was also, at a various times, a bookkeeper and co-owner of a grocery store, state fish and game commissioner, auditor of Sacramento County and the city treasurer of Sacramento.
Also interred at the cemetery was Hattie A. Gerber (1857-1928), who was the mother of his five children.
Construction on the Buffalo Brewery, which was located on the block bounded by 21st, 22nd, Q and R streets, began in 1888.
In being that this section of Sacramento was many years away from being built out at that time, upon its completion, the large brewery structure could be seen from a considerable distance within the city.
With the opening of the Buffalo Brewery in 1890, Herman became the company’s first general manager and Adolph Heilbron (1833-1913) served as the brewery’s first president. Heilbron’s final resting place is located at the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery at 1000 Broadway.
Also interred at East Lawn were Henry Gerber (1851-1928), one of the brewery’s first stockholders, and Henry I. Seymour (1861-1913).
Seymour was among the prominent men of the brewery, as he replaced Grau as the company’s general manager in 1896 and continued to serve in that role for 17 years.
But Seymour was not new to the brewery when he became its general manager, as he had been working for the brewery since 1890.
Another well-known person in local brewery history was Sacramento native Frank J. Ruhstaller (1872-1943), whose father was Swiss native Frank Ruhstaller (1846-1907), who was an original officer of the Buffalo Brewery.
The brewery resume of Frank Ruhstaller, who was interred at today’s Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, also included serving as the proprietor of the City Brewery at the northeast corner of 12th and H streets and the superintendent of the Sacramento Brewing Co.
As for the resume of Frank J. Ruhstaller, he became the president of the Buffalo Brewery in 1913, following the death of Heilbron. He retired from that position in April 1939.
Additionally, the younger Ruhstaller served as the assistant manager of the City Brewery and superintendent of the Sacramento Brewing Co., and was a member of the city’s war rationing board during World War II.
In speaking about Frank J. Ruhstaller during his retirement dinner at the old Elks Temple at 11th and J streets, Superior Court Judge Peter J. Shields said, “Charities, kindnesses and justices have characterized his whole existence. The aroma of good deeds during his life has perfumed the entire community. He has been modest, never seeking the limelight nor the vanities of life.”
Frank J. Ruhstaller’s wife, Alice Marie (Root) Ruhstaller (1871-1969), was also interred at East Lawn. The couple, who was married in Sacramento on Nov. 22, 1899, was residents of East Sacramento, residing in the Fabulous Forties neighborhood at 1301 44th St.
Much has been said and written about the Buffalo Brewery, which created beer that was popular well beyond Sacramento.
During its pre-Prohibition days, the Buffalo Brewery distributed its beer great distances.
In addition to shipping this beverage to many parts of Northern California, including San Francisco, the brewery also sent its beer to the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, Central America, along the Mediterranean, Russia, Japan and China.
A summary about the brewery in the Feb. 2, 1907 edition of The Union included the following words: “Sacramento boasts of many large manufacturing enterprises, but none are more in keeping with the general progress of this section than (the Buffalo Brewery). It is known by the excellence of its product. New Brew and Bohemian, its special brands, are known throughout the Pacific Coast. Ask any dealer and he will tell you there are none superior to them.”
The brewery, which experienced much physical growth at its local plant, returned to full, post-Prohibition production in December 1933 and continued its operations at its historic site until 1949.
The brewery buildings were razed in 1949 and 1950 in preparation for the construction of the newspaper, radio and television operations of McClatchy Newspapers – publishers of The Sacramento Bee – which was then headed by its president, Eleanor McClatchy.

Lance@valcomnews.com

Brewery men memorialized at East Lawn Memorial Park

The Sacramento Brewery was located at 28th and M (now Capitol Avenue) streets.

The Sacramento Brewery was located at 28th and M (now Capitol Avenue) streets.

Editor’s Note: This is part nine in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.

Among Sacramento’s identity during its earlier years was undoubtedly its position as a brewery city. And with a recent review of the records of East Lawn Memorial Park, the remains of at least seven high level local brewery men are interred at this East Sacramento cemetery.
Among these men was Philip Scheld, former owner of the Sacramento Brewery, which was located at 28th and M (now Capitol Avenue) streets.
The brewery, according to the 1880 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” was established in 1849 by a German immigrant named Peter Kadell, who during the following year began brewing beer at that site. Peter’s surname is also spelled “Cadel” in other historic references.
According to The Sacramento Union, in its June 15, 1872 edition, the brewery was rented by Philip Scheld in 1853 and purchased by him a year later.
The 1880 county history book indicates that Philip became involved in the brewery business in Sacramento in 1852.
Another version of this story, as described in the 1890 book, “An Illustrated History of Sacramento County, California,” notes that Philip “rented the brewery on the East M Street, and a month later bought it.”
Prior to becoming a Sacramentan, Philip, who was born in the town of Giessen in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in Germany on Oct. 13, 1827, attended government schools and worked on his family’s farm.
He later immigrated to the United States with his brother, Henry. They arrived in Philadelphia after a five-week voyage on July 11, 1845.
While residing in Philadelphia, Philip worked in the bakery industry and Henry dedicated himself to the cabinet making trade.
Both brothers eventually made their way to California. Henry arrived in 1849 to become a miner.
A year later, Philip, who was then living in Baltimore, was inspired by a letter that he received from his brother to head to California immediately.
After arriving in San Francisco on March 24, 1850, Philip traveled to Sacramento aboard the steamer “Hartford” before heading to El Dorado County.
He reunited with his brother in Volcano (Amador County) several weeks later.
Philip and Henry eventually worked together teaming between the mines and Sacramento.
Both the 1880 and 1890 county history books recognize Philip as becoming involved in the hotel business outside of Sacramento.
According to the 1890 county history book, this venture began after Philip and his business partner, Daniel Troy, acquired a hotel as a default method of payment for their work baking for that hotel.
Philip and Daniel had a larger hotel built to replace the hotel they acquired, and they also had a second hotel built. They continued in this business until the fall of 1852.
After Philip became the proprietor of the Sacramento Brewery, the brewery underwent many changes, including the construction of new buildings, an increase in its property size, and the addition of Switzerland native John Oschwald as co-owner of the brewery in 1869. That partnership continued until 1876.
The aforementioned June 15, 1872 edition of The Union notes that in 1860, Philip had the old brewery moved to the rear portion of the property and had a 61-foot by 42-foot, brick building constructed on the site’s northeast corner.
The 1880 county history book described the building as having been expanded to a size of 120 feet by 100 feet. The “two-story, brick addition” was built at a cost of $4,000 by Martin Madden, who was described in the Jan. 1, 1883 edition of The Union as “the leading builder in this part of the state.”
On Oct. 2, 1873, a fire occurred at the brewery’s two-story, 24-square-foot, brick, malt house.
The fire began when the malt that was being burned in the kiln overheated. The damage, which was contained inside the building, was financially covered by the brewery’s insurance.
Another building at the brewery caught on fire on Oct. 11, 1877, resulting in $1,500 in damages.
In between these fire years, Philip, who married Germany native Margaret Fritz on April 7, 1858, was involved in a near fatal accident.
During the early afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 14, 1874, following a morning of hunting several miles east of Sacramento, Philip Scheld was driving his buggy with his son, Adolph.
As Philip was resting his arm against the muzzle of his rifle, one of the buggy’s wheels ran into a squirrel hole, causing the firearm to discharge. A shell passed through his left arm, just below his shoulder, and exited out the other side of the arm.

The Scheld family mausoleum is located on the Folsom Boulevard side of the cemetery. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Scheld family mausoleum is located on the Folsom Boulevard side of the cemetery. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Although the injury resulted in Philip losing his arm to amputation, it was believed that he would have bled to death had the powder of his rifle not severely burned his arm, thus slowing the bleeding.
Oddly, 20 years later, Adolph accidently shot and killed Frederick C. Glueck while he was target shooting with some of his military friends.
The Union, in its Jan. 1, 1877 edition, noted that the brewery included extensive sheds and outhouses and had utilized 200 tons of barley and three tons of hops and produced 3,000 barrels of beer in the past year.
At that time, the brewery also included a 40-foot by 100-foot malt kiln and a 40-foot by 100-foot storehouse.
In the 1880 county history book, the operation of the brewery, which was then located on nearly a whole block of land, was described as follows: “It has steam power for mechanical purposes, three steam pumps, and is complete in every particular, employing throughout the year six or seven men, and having a capacity of eighteen barrels per day.”
The Union, in its Jan. 1, 1880 edition, noted that the brewery’s advantages for the manufacture of beer and shipping throughout California were “unsurpassed by those of any competitor in business.”
The 1913 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” recognizes the financial rewards that the brewery brought Philip, as follows: “Still in the pioneer period of the ‘50s, (Philip) identified himself with the brewery business that by his own industry and sagacity brought him a fortune.”
The same book also referred to the Sacramento Brewery as “one of the most profitable properties of the kind in the state.”
Evidence of the wealth of Philip, who was a millionaire, could be seen through his stately home, which he had built at 1105 L St. in 1880.
In February 1869, while still dedicating himself to the brewery as its proprietor, Philip became one of the original directors of the Capital Savings Bank of Sacramento at the southwest corner of 4th and J streets.
And from about 1878 to 1913, he was involved with Sacramento Savings Bank at the northwest corner of 5th and J streets.
In the final 12 years of that time, Philip served as president of this latter named bank.
Following his aforementioned accident, Philip continued his role in the brewery’s ownership for many years thereafter.
Beyond his brewery and banking activities, Philip also owned a considerable amount of property in Los Angeles County, served as a longtime local firefighter, president of the Sacramento Rifle Club and a director of the Sacramento Beet Sugar Company, and was a member of the Sacramento Turn Verein.
He died at his L Street home at the age of 85 during the early morning of July 30, 1913.
His funeral was a private affair held at his home two days after his passing and he was interred at East Lawn Cemetery during the same day.
Philip’s remains are located inside the Scheld family mausoleum on the Folsom Boulevard side of the cemetery.
This mausoleum is East Lawn’s only private, family mausoleum that contains both large and small crypts.
Also interred in this mausoleum are the remains of Margaret, who passed away at the age of 80 in 1916, Adolph, who died at the age of 84 in 1946, and three other members of the family – Adolph’s wife, Leila C. Scheld (1869-1936); Adolph and Leila’s daughter, Margaret Scheld Cook (1897-1961); and Philip’s niece, Ottilie Fritz (1865-1917).
Another Scheld family member, August C. Fritz, a Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany native who died at the age of 21 on Feb. 27, 1872, had his funeral services at the Sacramento Brewery during the afternoon of the following day. He was originally buried at the New Helvetia Cemetery at 31st Street (today’s Alhambra Boulevard), between H and J streets.

Former East Sacramento resident was known as ‘Father of McClellan’

Arthur Serviss Dudley was a resident of East Sacramento during the 1920s and 1930s. Photo courtesy of Aerospace Museum of California

Arthur Serviss Dudley was a resident of East Sacramento during the 1920s and 1930s. Photo courtesy of Aerospace Museum of California

Editor’s Note: This is part eight in a series about the rich history of and associated with East Sacramento’s award-winning East Lawn Memorial Park.

Among the most notable people to make their final resting place inside East Lawn’s two-story mausoleum was former East Sacramento resident Arthur Serviss Dudley (1883-1977).
Born in West Salem, Wis., where he attended elementary and high schools, Arthur was the son of Lewis R. Dudley, a public school principal, and Nora (Serviss) Dudley.
In 1903, three years after receiving his high school diploma, Arthur graduated from the Illinois College of Photography in Effingham, Ill.
During the same year, he married Ada Broome of Effingham and moved with her to Palo Alto, Calif., where he established his own photography studio.
His successful professional photography career also included founding the California College of Photography in Palo Alto.
After the institution was severely damaged by the 1906 earthquake, Arthur and Ada returned to the East, where Arthur spent three years editing a 10-volume publication – “The Complete Self-Instructing Work of Practical Photography” – for the American Photo Text-Book Co. of Scranton, Pa.
Arthur remained with the company promoting the publication in various parts of the country, and then served as the business’s manager until 1911.
He later worked as the editor and advertising manager of The Camera and The Bulletin of Photography for Chambers Press of Philadelphia.
In 1913, Arthur was once again residing in California, this time farming on a 10-acre piece of property that he purchased in Riverside County. But that venture ended when his farmland washed out during a major storm.
This incident caused Arthur to return to his photography endeavors during the following year, as he moved to San Jacinto (Riverside County) and opened a photography gallery.
It was also in San Jacinto, where he assisted in the organization of that city’s chamber of commerce.
As a representative of Riverside County, Arthur assisted with the famous 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, which many Sacramentans traveled to San Francisco to attend.
In April of that year, Arthur was elected to serve as the secretary of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce. And a year later, he became the assistant secretary of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
During his time in Riverside County, Arthur assisted in the effort to have the Army establish the airfield that eventually became known as March Air Force Base.
Arthur, who had one son and three daughters, became a resident of Sacramento for the first time in August 1920 after being named as the new secretary of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce – today’s Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to his service with the local chamber of commerce, Arthur was a member of the advisory board of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, president of the Secretaries of the California Chamber of Commerce and director of the National Association of Commercial Organization Secretaries.
He also led efforts for the early 1920s construction of the $100,000 Chamber of Commerce Building at 917-21 7th St. and was a driving force behind the city’s “Days of ’49” celebration in 1922.
During his initial three-year residency in Sacramento, Arthur lived at 2162 33rd St. (1920-21) and 530 21st St. (1921-23).
In August 1923, he moved with his family to Portland, where he was instrumental in the formation of the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce. He also served as that chamber’s manager.
A year and a half later, Arthur was residing in San Joaquin County and working as the secretary of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce.

Arthur Serviss Dudley resided in this Fabulous Forties home at 1445 42nd St., just north of today’s East Lawn Children’s Park, from 1928 to 1929. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Arthur Serviss Dudley resided in this Fabulous Forties home at 1445 42nd St., just north of today’s East Lawn Children’s Park, from 1928 to 1929. Photo by Lance Armstrong

However, Arthur was not through moving, as he became the secretary-manager of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce in 1927 and a resident of East Sacramento at 1445 42nd St.
Although the Dudleys moved downtown about three years later, they would return to East Sacramento. The family lived at 1426 41st St. from 1933 to 1935, and altogether the Dudleys had at least 10 Sacramento area home addresses.
Arthur, who enjoyed camping, hunting and occasional games of tennis, belonged to various Sacramento civic organizations, including the Sacramento Trade Club and the Rotary Club of Sacramento, which then met on the mezzanine level of the Hotel Senator at 1125 L St.
Among the major highlights of Arthur’s many years with the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce was his noteworthy work with the military.
Arthur, who was the local chamber’s first paid executive, was involved with various aspects of both Mather and McClellan airbases.
Although he led efforts to halt the early 1930s closure of Mather Field – as Mather Air Force Base was then known – it was officially placed on inactive status on Nov. 1, 1932.
But after about a decade of maintaining its inactive status, Mather Field, with the assistance of Arthur, who used his chamber of commerce experience and status to his benefit, had a timely rebirth, less than a year prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
In his early 1960s writings about Arthur’s contribution to the U.S. air defense, Fenton L. Williams, who served as the historian for the Sacramento Air Materiel Area at McClellan Air Force Base, wrote: “As a result of his activity – his able, enthusiastic pushing – the country became conscious of the need to begin air defense work without delay. It is safe to say that no other one person in our whole country did so much to stir interest and get action when it was so badly needed – action that resulted in an effective air defense. Not only Sacramento, but the whole country and the free world owe a debt of gratitude to Arthur S. Dudley.”
Although McClellan Field (later known as McClellan Air Force Base) was named after Maj. Hezekiah McClellan, who died as a result of a flight test accident on May 25, 1936, Arthur is known as the “Father of McClellan.”
Arthur, who at separate times served as president and chairman of the National Air Frontier Defense Association, which was comprised of chamber of commerce secretaries, led a nationwide drive to establish more air bases.
His efforts resulted in seven new bases, one of which would become McClellan.
In his writings about Arthur, Williams noted that few people were initially informed about the plans to establish the base.
“Those who had information as to what was in the making guarded it closely to avoid a skyrocketing of prices,” Williams wrote. “Dudley confided in one person – Alden Anderson, president of the Capital National Bank. He, in turn, commissioned Carroll A. Cook of Artz and Cook real estate (and insurance) company to obtain the options (from landowners). Cook, himself did not know the purpose, so he acted naturally and did not create any wonderment.”
Arthur, who married Elizabeth Trumbo in 1946, about two years after the death of Ada, announced on May 7, 1936 that Sacramento’s new $7 million, 1,100-acre Army Air Corps repair and supply depot, which would later be known as McClellan Field, would be constructed. The base had its formal dedication nearly three years later.
Considering the economic impact that local air bases had on Sacramento, Arthur’s legacy on that point alone is grand.
His name is also preserved through Arthur S. Dudley Elementary School at 8000 Aztec Way in Antelope, and Dudley Boulevard and Dudley Way on the old grounds of McClellan Air Force Base. A small section of Dudley Boulevard was formerly known as Dudley Loop.
Arthur, who continued to serve as the local chamber’s secretary-manager until 1950, led efforts to have the Port of Sacramento constructed and witnessed McClellan’s expansion to more than 2,600 acres, passed away at the age of 94 on Feb. 16, 1977.
Services in his remembrance were held two days after his passing in the East Lawn chapel.