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Forest Lawn figures prominently in the Krukow family of Glendale. When Louis G. Krukow died in 1910, he was buried at Forest Lawn, and the family frequently visited his grave site, sometimes picnicking while they were there, according to family stories told by Wilma Krukow Crawford to her daughter, Betty Crawford McMurray.

In 1910, Forest Lawn was just 4 years old. It was a small, unremarkable cemetery in Tropico with a few eucalyptus trees. Most of the land was covered with brush, and there were some granite monuments.

In 1917, Hubert Eaton renamed it Forest Lawn Memorial Park and began planting hundreds of trees and plants and discontinuing tombstones to create a park-like setting.

The Great Mausoleum, inspired by Campo Santo in Genoa, Italy, was built on a commanding spot with a sweeping view. The first phase, Azalea Terrace, opened in 1920, said George Ellison of the Special Collections Room at the Glendale Central Library.

After the mausoleum opened, Walter Krukow was re-interred in the new facility, “on the lowest level,” McMurray said.

She doesn’t know why the family decided to do this, but, she added, “my grandmother was still living, and I just think they wanted him in that brand-new building.”

McMurray said her grandfather was an interesting man. He came out West in the early 1900s and eventually made his way to Glendale, buying up property along the way. Once he arrived here, he and his wife, Jennie, and their two children, Walter and Wilma, settled into a house on South Jackson Street.

Krukow went into construction, building a store at 112 E. Broadway.

“He did finish work, including the apartment on Broadway where the Irish tailors were,” McMurray said. “He was in his 40s when he died. He didn’t live here very long, but he did a lot while he was here.”

The Krukow son, Walter, attended Glendale High School and was a good friend of Marion Morrison [aka John Wayne], according to family lore.

“Walter and Marion played football together and were both senior-class officers,” McMurray said.

For awhile, the Morrisons lived on Kenwood Street, on the same block as the Krukow house on Jackson. She said that Wayne later wrote about his friend Walt and how they slid down the Krukows’ barn roof, landing on a pile of hay.

Walter Krukow worked at Forest Lawn while in high school, gardening and planting flowers and trees. Later, he became a game warden. He was patrolling a fishing stream near Whiskeytown, a small town in Northern California, when he stopped to chide a young boy for fishing out of season.

He continued on his way, but later the boy followed him and shot and killed him. Krukow’s body was brought back to Glendale, and he was buried near his grandfather.

“This was in the fall of 1947,” McMurray said. “Grandmother had already passed away in January of that year. Thankfully, she didn’t have to see her son killed.”

McMurray said her mother, Wilma, was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church of Glendale. She joined in 1910 and was honored for her 77-year membership in 1987.

Her parents also chose the mausoleum, but are in a different section, McMurray said.

Back in the 1920s, shortly after the mausoleum opened, a relative, Ted Krukow, came to the area while on a college glee club tour. He visited the family and went to the Louis Krukow crypt. He took a July 1923 copy of Forest Lawn’s newsletter, “The Chimes,” back home to Iowa. Some time after her cousin’s death, the family sent McMurray that 1923 newsletter, and she recently donated it to Special Collections.

“I thought of George Ellison and the Special Collections Room,” she said. “I knew of him from First Methodist Church, and I knew of his interest in history.”


 KATHERINE YAMADA can be contacted by calling features editor Joyce Rudolph at (818) 637-3241. For more information on Glendale’s history, visit the Glendale Historical Society’s Web page, www.glendalehistorical.org; call the reference desk at the Central Library at (818) 548-2027; or call (818) 548-2037 for an appointment to visit the Special Collections Room at Central from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you have questions, comments or memories to share, please write to Verdugo Views, c/o News-Press, 221 N. Brand Blvd., 2nd Floor, Glendale, CA 91203. Please include your name, address and phone number.

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