It’s a fairly simple device that was created as an experiment to visually demonstrate what scientists knew but had never been able to show: the rotation of the earth on its axis.
When French physicist Léon Foucault suspended a brass-coated lead “bob” on a long wire from the dome of the Meridian of the Paris Observatory in 1851, his experimental pendulum was the first easy-to-see evidence of the earth’s rotation.
The Foucault pendulum, named in his honor, is a popular display in museums and universities around the world.
71 years after Foucault first displayed his pendulum, the Sunnyside Mausoleum opened in what is today Forest Lawn-Long Beach. With its stunning Spanish Renaissance style, the mausoleum featured an imposing tower that could be seen from quite a distance and eventually became known as a Long Beach landmark. The extensively decorated mausoleum’s red tile roof crowned the exterior, while the interior showcased exquisite marble, bronze and mahogany wood features. It was the first mausoleum to be equipped with Deagan wind chimes and a pipe organ.
But it was also the first mausoleum to feature a Foucault pendulum.
Surrounded by ornate tile, Forest Lawn’s Foucault pendulum makes one complete revolution every 42 hours and 48 minutes. It is one of only eight in all of Southern California, and the only one in a mausoleum in the world.
You’re invited to visit Forest Lawn-Long Beach to see our pendulum inside Sunnyside Mausoleum, as well as the stunning examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture, and statue hall that contains busts of Charlemagne, St. Augustine, Dante, Milton, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson and other notables. While you’re here, stop by Memorial Chapel where you can see an original interpretation of the “Ascension of Christ” on canvas. On each side of the chapel, jewel-like stained glass windows add colorful light as they tell the exciting story of California’s history from 1769 to 1907.