The Municipal Cemetery is located at the northwest corner of Willow Street and Orange Avenue. It was established as early as 1901 when William Willmore, the original developer of what became Long Beach was interred there. According to records, on July 10th, 1900 the City of Long Beach assumed the operation and maintenance of the three and two-thirds acres cemetery from the Long Beach Cemetery Association. The Cemetery was previously known as the Signal Hill Cemetery, and it is thought to have been established as a burial ground for Bixby Ranch employees. A Bixby mausoleum is located on the property, although no member of the Bixby family is interred there. At some point, the land became part of the Rancho Los Cerritos, and was subsequently purchased by William Erwin Willmore, the entrepreneur credited with founding Willmore City, predecessor to the City of Long Beach. The management, upkeep and control of the Cemetery is the responsibility of the Parks, Recreation and Marine Department. This includes manual watering of the grounds, tree maintenance, plant care, weeding, edging and mowing of the turf, raking of leaves, "righting" of headstones (straightening them upright or raising them to grade) and debris removal. Along with the maintenance of the grounds, staff open and close graves. This job must be performed very carefully to not disturb surrounding soil and to comply with state laws and standards of practice for cemeteries. The main obstacle with is that the accuracy of the records is in conflict with who actually lies in the ground. The cemetery is used frequently for filmings, including Mariah Carey's cemetery scene in the movie "Glitter." Although Arnold's Terminator 3 cemetery scene was shot at El Dorado Park, the filming company had the Municipal Cemetery as their first option until the magnitude of the special effects were considered. The cemetery has more than a century of history to share with all who are interested, but you may not want to plan your visit on Halloween night. Not only will you find it's quietness eerily disturbing, but you will also find it locked and closely guarded for the occasion.
Annual Historical Cemetery Tour
Call to confirm dates & times. First tour starts at 9am and tours run every 15 minutes until 12pm.
1095 E. Willow Street
Long Beach Municipal Cemetery
1151 E. Willow Street
(between Orange and California)
Come and hear about city founders, residents and pioneers whose lives contributed to the rich history of our city.
General Admission - $25
Students Ages 8-18 - $8
Children 7 & under are free.
-Purchase tickets at the entrance of either cemetery on October 30.
-Tour tickets are for both cemeteries.
-Bring your valid membership card to receive the member discount.
Sunnyside Cemetery or south of Willow
The Historical Society of Long Beach is a membership organization, with gallery, archive and offices located in Long Beach. At our facility and through our programs, we promote, develop, exhibit and preserve Long Beach history. We serve students, educators, researchers and those interested in local history. We serve you.
Historical Society of Long Beach