The Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation
Located in Burbank in Los Angeles, California, the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation is a dedicated memorial to individuals who had profound impacts on aviation and flight. The individuals primarily lived and contributed to aviation during the first half of the twentieth century. 13 aviators, manufacturers, pilots, and more were enshrined at the memorial.
Initially, the memorial was known as the Valhalla Memorial Rotunda. The structure was designed by Kenneth A. MacDonald Jr. and was sculpted by Federico Augustino Giorgi. It is situated on the edge of the Pierce Brothers Valhalla Cemetery on Valhalla Drive. After noise pollution caused the cemetery’s management to shut down the entrance, James Gillette sought to change the memorial into a shrine dedicated to aviators. This was partially due to the fact that the shrine was so close to Lockheed Aircraft Company and the Hollywood Burbank Airport.
In 2024, the shrine will see its 100-year anniversary of being built.
Notable Aviation Figures Buried at the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation
There are a number of individuals buried at the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation. They are as follows:
- Bertrand Blanchard Acosta (1895–1954), who was a co-pilot with Admiral Byrd when they flew from New York to France in 1927.
- Walter Richard Brookins (1889–1953), an exhibitionist pilot for the Wright brothers.
- Mark Mitchell Campbell (1897–1963), co-creator of the first Golden Eagle plane, as well as a stunt pilot and expert parachuting practitioner.
- Warren Samuel Eaton (1891–1966), co-creator of the first flight-capable monoplane.
- Winfield Bertrum Kinner (1882–1957), manufacturer of Kinner Airsters.
- Augustus Roy Knabenshue (1876–1960), a dirigible and balloon pilot who managed the Wright brothers’ exhibition team.
- John Bevins Moisant (1868–1910), who was the first to carry a passenger across the English channel.
- Matilde Moisant (1878–1964), the second woman in the United States to become a licensed pilot.
- Elizabeth Lippincott McQueen (1878–1958), founder of the Women’s International Aeronautical Association (WIAA).
- James Floyd Smith (1884–1956), a test pilot for Glenn Martin, who also created the free-type parachute for the army.
- Hilder Florentina Smith (1890–1977), aerial acrobat and parachutist.
- Carl Browne Squier (1893–1967), a test pilot, barnstormer, and airplane manufacturer.
- Charles Edward Taylor (1868–1956), who helped the Wright brothers with the design and creation of the first engine for the Wright Flyer.
In addition, Reverend John Carruthers is buried with the aviators; he was an aviation history expert and helped form the Brookins/Lahm/Wright Aeronautical Foundation. Jimmie Angel, the discoverer of Angel Falls, was buried there, but his ashes were later scattered over the waterfall that bears his name.
Visiting Historic Memorials and Shrines in Los Angeles
The Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation and the Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery can be visited from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The memorial itself can be found at 3898 Valhalla Dr, Burbank, CA 91505. You can add it to your list of other historic memorials and monuments if you’re on a tour. At Bayer Cemetery Brokers, we like the history of memorials and what they stand for. If you’re interested in selling a grave plot in the Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery, feel free to contact us for assistance.