William Andrews Clark Jr. Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever

By Allan R. Ellenberger

Visitors to Hollywood Forever Cemetery invariably ask who is interred in the huge mausoleum in the center of the lake. The answer is William Andrews Clark, Jr., the second son of millionaire copper-king and Montana Senator, William A. Clark, Sr. (1839-1925).

Clark, a philanthropist, was founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1919) and a collector of rare books. At his death, he left his library of rare books and manuscripts to the regents of UCLA. Today, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library specializes in English literature and history from 1641 to 1800, materials related to Oscar Wilde and his associates, and fine printing.

The Clark family mausoleum is built on an island approached by a large bridge fashioned of 40-foot granite slabs. The artificial lake, island and bridge, which covers 50,000 square feet, were constructed in 1909 at a cost of $10,000. At the time it was said to be modeled after “one of the large cemeteries of the East.”

In January 1920, Clark bought the island and within a few weeks, contractors began work on the foundation of the mausoleum which is made of reinforced concrete. Clark contracted the Georgia Marble Company (Tate, Georgia) for $125,000 worth of white Georgia crystaline marble, where it was quarried but was cut here in Los Angeles.

The mausoleum, which was designed by architect Robert D. Farquhar, is in the Ionic style. The pediment is all in one piece. The bronze door was cast from a model design and made by an eastern sculptor.

The interior of the mausoleum is finished with reddish marble and the sarcophagi, of which there are seven, are in like material. The inside dome is finished with a design worked out in mosaic of pigeon blue and old gold. A similar mosaic is laid on the floor. The four interior stained glass windows were made by Lamm & Co. of New York. On the walls are Biblical scenes done in mosaic which 18 Italian artists labored on for 14 months.

The mausoleum was completed in 1921 at a cost of more than $500,000, which includes the island site, the bridge and the lake which had palely beautiful lotus blossoms, hyacinths and lilies from far-away lands.

When the mausoleum was completed, Clark transferred the body of his first wife, Mabel Foster Clark (1880-1903) to it from a vault in Butte, Montana, and also the body of his second wife, Alice McManus Clark (1884-1918) which was then resting in the family mausoleum of his uncle, J. Ross Clark, at Hollywood Cemetery.

There are seven sarcophagi in the mausoleum, three on each side, and one at the head where Clark is interred. Besides his two wives, also interred there is his only son, William A. Clark III (1902-1932), who died in an airplane crash. They all preceded him in death.

William Andrews Clark, Jr. died of heart disease at his summer home in Salmon Lake, Montana on June 14, 1934.



Clark’s father, Senator William Andrews Clark, Sr., is interred in his own grand mausoleum (above) at the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.


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30 Responses to “William Andrews Clark Jr. Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever”

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks, Allan, for another wonderful post. I always wanted to know what the inside of the mausoleum looked like.
    Hi Bill, you’re welcome.

  2. landman says:

    What a beautiful monument! Hollywood Forever has so many interesting monuments. So thankful the Cemetery is being well cared for and open to the public. A visit to Hollywood would not be complete without visiting H4E.

  3. Marie says:

    Remember that today would have been Rosalind Russell’s 103rd birthday. Great photo blog on the mausoleum.

  4. d.w. says:

    WOW this is again an amazing story that only you Allan can deliver!
    Thank You – AND did you get inside? The photographs are just brilliant!
    I got the interior photos many years ago during an LA Conservancy tour.

  5. Melissa says:

    Having never been able to photograph the interior, I am so happy to finally have a good idea of what it contains. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful photos of this important and generous man’s beautiful final home.
    Hi Melissa, you’re very welcome. – Allan

  6. I was allowed inside only once, after a Rudolph Valentino service about 12 years ago. Nice to see it again. Great job, Allan!

  7. P. David Eastburn says:

    Excellent post Allan. Very informative, especially for those curious about the interior. Thanks for sharing. David Eastburn

  8. CatMoves says:

    I notice that Mable died in 1903 and Wm III was born in 1902. Were there complications at the birth that weakened and finally caused her death? Do you know the story?
    I don’t know but now you made me curious!

  9. Jim says:

    Get this – his sister Huguette is still alive at 103 years old but her whereabouts are known only to a few close friends! Clark’s father was a most “unusual” character, this is what Mark Twain wrote about him, “He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag; he is a shame to the American nation, and no one has helped to send him to the Senate who did not know that his proper place was the penitentiary, with a ball and chain on his legs. To my mind he is the most disgusting creature that the republic has produced since Tweed’s time.”
    Wow that is interesting. I wonder what Twain really thought!

  10. Allan Ellenberger says:

    Mabel Foster Clark, the first wife of W. A. Clark, died on Jan 1, 1903 due to complications from the birth of her son who was born on Dec 2, 1902.

  11. Harry Martin says:

    What a mega-cool post! Thank you! Loved all the detail, and I ran the inflation calculator. The cost in today’s money would have been $5.94 million.

  12. robin longfield says:

    Thank-you so much for the wonderful post. I am never not totally amazed and “wowed” at anything you post, and this one was REALLY something! I had heard that in the past this mausoleum was open to the public one day per year ( maybe in conjunction with the Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service). I recently called to confirm this and was advised that this is no longer the case. Mr. Clark Jr must have been a very fascinating person to have known— if Mark Twain’s opinion of Mr Clark Sr was supported by other people, it can only be hoped that in this case the “apple” fell very, very far from the tree……

  13. kathleen campbell says:

    Robert D. Farquhar was also the architect of Clark’s library, built on the grounds of his property in West Adams. Today, that Oscar Wilde collection started by Mr Clark, is the largest in the world .
    i was not surprised by Mark Twain’s comments until it got to the Boss Tweed part. Perhaps Mr Twain was speaking about Clark pere? while i have not heard any stories about Clark’s business dealings, there are wild stories told about WAC’s personal life, which today we would take in stride but in his own time made him scandalous.
    Don Lynch says he was told by someone “inside” that the only actual corporeal remains in the mausoleum are those of the son. Perhaps Don’s source really isn’t “in the know”
    Mabel Clark’s complications were “child birth fever”- toxemia.
    i have been inside; 3 times.

  14. w.k. mccauley says:

    You’ve outdone yourself, Allan! A lovely article with wonderful photographs.
    Hey stranger!

  15. Bejarano says:

    Great information and pictures! His son, William III, mansion in Clarkdale, AZ just recently burned down.

  16. Jill Osgood says:

    Thanks to everyone here who has contributed information on the Clark family. My boyfriend is John Clark, son of J. Ross Clark II. Walter Clark is John’s grandfather – he died on the Titanic when J. Ross was a baby. J. Ross Sr. was the younger brother of William Clark, the senator. We live on the east coast and have not visited the mausoleum, so again I thank you all for your photos and input. I am fascinated by the Clark family history and would love to hear any more stories you may have.
    Hi Jill, its a fascinating family. At some point I want to do a story on Walter Miller Clark and the Titanic. There is a marker for him in the J Ross Clark mausoleum at Hollywood Forever.

  17. Don Lynch says:

    Someone at the cemetery told me that William Andrews Clark was not buried there, at the insistence of his family. However there are photographs of the funeral so apparently that is not true.

    I wrote a long article on Walter and Virginia Clark for the Titanic Commutator, the magazine of the Titanic Historical Society, about twenty years ago. I wish I knew then what I know now.

    Don Lynch
    Hi Don, you are correct there are photos of the funeral so if Clark is not there, he was removed afterward, which I find hard to believe. I’ve done research Walter and Virginia Clark myself and would love to read your article sometime.

  18. Rosemary Duff says:

    I cannot believe I missed this. It is even more beautiful than I imagined. Thank you again for this fantastic history.

  19. J. Ebenezer Schmidt says:

    Have you been able to locate the photos of Mr. Clark’s funeral? These would be a good addition to the mausoleum information. Once, while visiting the cemetery, I cautiously walked up to the massive door and knocked a couple of times. No one answered, nobody home? Also, many years ago, noticed an electric meter on a side wall. Wonder… does any one live there? Lots of space, room for a small kitchen in a corner, and an electric coffee machine?

  20. Gail Powers says:

    Just had my second opportunity to sneek in and take a look around. I have no idea why the mausoleum was open on either occasion, but your pictures are beautiful and convey its opulence.
    My fortuitous revisit was prompted by an advance copy of a book about Clark’s half sister Hughette that I’ve been reading. The book thus far has been quite a revelation on many levels and identifies one of Hughette’s many homes that she never visited as an estate next to the Santa Barbara Cemetery.

  21. Cindee Ellenbarger says:

    Thank you for such a great article and pictures! We visited this cemetery a few years ago and remember seeing this massive mausoleum. I’m currently reading a book about his half sister, Huguette which explains where WA is buried. I thought “hey, I’ve been there!” So I did a google search and here is your article! So cool. Thank you!
    PS-I clicked on your page first since it’s so very close to ours which is unusual in itself.

  22. david crawford says:

    Who has the key to the door of the William Andrews Clark Jr. Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever

  23. Allan Ellenberger says:

    The family and the cemetery most likely.

  24. John Dunkle says:

    I’ve been there a dozen times or more and never knew who this mausoleum belonged to. It’s a beautiful structure.

  25. Linda Dukeslaw says:

    Very interesting!

  26. What do the greek letters mean at the top of the Iconic columns mean-
    Mt Moriah, DII Eut Torum Duicis, Mortis Metum, Tulat Uetae, Spem Afert,
    Caelesrtum Natutla mean?

  27. Mark Simon says:

    And now the astonishing, tangled, noir Clark history is accurately told in the thoroughly researched wonderfully written new book Twilight Man by Liz Brown. It’s in the LA library too.

  28. Moe Cormier says:

    Reply to Diane MacIntyre: “The memory of sweet delight puts away the fear of death, nature inspires the hope of new life” — MJC

  29. Christopher says:

    Not far from the bridge is a sarcophagus that is positioned on this sort of a little hard surface ‘outlet’ – do you know if that sarcophagus is empty or if someone is entombed within it?

  30. Allan Ellenberger says:

    No, that is fairly new within the last year or so. Its possible someone owns it but I dont think it has any occupants yet.

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