99 years ago this coming January 1, a young man stood on a hillside that overlooked a small, 50-acre country cemetery which he managed. Only a few of the acres were developed: a small patch of lawn and a few straggling headstones, which were surrounded by unkempt brown hillsides. There were no buildings on the property. It was, to be blunt, quite unsightly.
It was then that he realized that something had to be done. This cemetery under his care could and should be something very different from what he was seeing.
So the young man went home, sat down at the desk in his study and put his thoughts—his vision, actually—in writing. When he was finished, his words, which we today know as “The Builder’s Creed,” provided an eloquent, yet passionate guide for what this cemetery would become.
In “The Builder’s Creed,” Forest Lawn Founder Dr. Hubert Eaton stated that the cemeteries of his day had become “unsightly stoneyards full of inartistic symbols and depressing customs; places that do nothing for humanity save a practical act, and that not well.”
He pledged to transform Forest Lawn into a place “where lovers new and old shall love to stroll and watch a sunset’s glow, planning for the future or reminiscing of the past; a place where artists study and sketch; where school teachers bring happy children to see the things they read of in books; where little churches invite, triumphant in the knowledge that from their pulpits only words of love can be spoken; where memorialization of loved ones in sculptured marble and pictorial glass shall be encouraged by controlled by acknowledged artists; a place where the sorrowing will be soothed and strengthened because it will be God’s garden. A place that will be protected by an immense Endowment Care Fund, the principle of which can never be expended—only the income therefrom used to care for and perpetuate this Garden of Memory.”
Nearly a century later, what began with simple observation and the resolve to make things different and better has become a world-wide standard of excellence in funeral service and care.
As we head into a new year, we at Forest Lawn will continue to carry out the spirit of “The Builder’s Creed” to each and every family we serve.
Wishing you and yours a very happy 2016!