Highland Price at Hollywood Forever…


Highland Price



  • BORN: August 27, 1865, Illinois
  • DIED: April 10, 1901, Hollywood, California
  • CAUSE OF DEATH: Unknown
  • Burial: Highland, Section 7, Lot 104


She never appeared in a film. She never held political office and has no known accomplishments that can be credited to her. In a town where images are so important, there are no photographs of her that have survived. Yet in Hollywood, her name is spoken every day; a multi-million dollar shopping and entertainment complex bears her name, and that name is posted on multiple street corners.


Her name is Highland Mary Price, born in Illinois and the wife of Hollywood’s first blacksmith, Thomas W. Price, whom she married in 1887. When she died of unknown causes in 1901, Highland became the first permanent resident of the newly christened, Hollywood Cemetery (now Hollywood Forever). Besides her husband, she was survived by her 9 year-old adopted daughter, Francis and her sister, Kate Mosby.


After her death, the founding fathers of Hollywood named one of the major thoroughfares Highland Avenue, in her honor. They chose that street because her home was on the corner of Highland at Fountain Avenue.


Today, we not only have Highland Avenue, but there is the Hollywood and Highland Center, home of the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards are held. Each week people party at The Highlands, a popular restaurant and night club. And Hollywood Forever is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world.


Not a bad legacy for a smithee’s wife.


 The Hollywood and Highland Center


Grave monument for Highland Price, the very first interment at Hollywood Forever



 The original marker for Highland Price – the first grave marker to be laid in Hollywood Cemetery


The grave marker of Thomas W. Price, “The Village Blacksmith of Hollywood”



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13 Responses to “Highland Price at Hollywood Forever…”

  1. Harry Martin says:

    Oh what a *neat* story! I just *love* your behind-the-headstone back-stories.


  2. Melissa says:

    I so ditto Harry on this…. I am not just interested in the film and fine arts deceased, but California historical types as well. This was such a marvelous choice! Splendid work, Allan.

  3. Allan Ellenberger says:

    Thanks Melissa and Harry. There are so many stories at Hollywood Forever, it will keep me busy for years.

  4. I became fascinated with her after reading in a book that she had been the first internment at my favorite bone yard. Finding her marker was a highlight of my grave hunting career, right up there with the Little Mouse. Thanks for the additional research because as you point out, there is precious little of it available.

  5. Chuck Lampman says:

    I think I will take a nap. Boring!!

  6. Sara Henderson says:

    I didn’t know this info!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  7. Allan Ellenberger says:

    Then you should read elsewhere Chuck. I wouldn’t want you to be bored. Good luck.

  8. Allan Ellenberger says:

    Thanks Steve and Sara.

  9. Lisa Cousins says:

    I’ll try to speak softly so as not to disturb the snoozing Chuck over there, but – WHAT A GREAT ARTICLE! How interesting! It would never have occurred to me that “Highland” might be somebody’s first name. I just thought that – hey, this is the Hollywood Hills, where the LAND is pretty darn HIGH. Thanks so much for the insight – and for the peek into the “village” life of Hollywood.

  10. Bob Marlowe says:

    I am very glad to find this on the Internet. When I worked at Hollywood Memorial, I researched this and thought that maybe I was the only person who knew. Now – a challenge: If all of the people interred at Hollywood Forever were alive, which of them would be the oldest? Respond to WRMedu@aol.com for the answer.

  11. Debbie Wehne says:

    Family purchased a house at Highland and Fountain in 1959
    From my godmother. She told me that Highland Ave was named for “Highland Mary” and I assumed it was a wives tale.

    Nice to know the true story!!

  12. Gary Helsinger says:

    Do you know which corner of Highland and Fountain? Was the blacksmith shop connected to their home?

    I heard that Mary Moll (Hollywood’s first school teacher, one of the town’s powerful citizens) was friends with Highland, and Mary chose her recently deceased friend’s name for the new street because it passed thru her property (a small strawberry farm). She demolished her barn home where Highland would cross over Prospect Ave (Hollywood Blvd) and built a huge craftsman house a block west at Orange (where the Roosevelt Hotel is today)

    I wish there was a photo of Highland!

  13. Allan Ellenberger says:

    Hi Gary, it was on the southwest corner of Highland and Fountain. There is a gas station there now I believe.

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