Mountain View was created to serve Pasadena as well as the Pasadena Highlands, later known as Altadena. Although located in Altadena, it is Pasadena’s major cemetery, outside of some church sites. This stretch of North Fair Oaks is still fairly quiet and isolated, which makes a visit here all the more pleasant, and it’s a manageable size, whether you want to take a fifteen-minute look or a three-hour stroll. Approximately 60 acres, with well-spaced trees, Victorian monuments, small headstones, roundabouts and curbs tall enough to comfortably step out of your horse-drawn carriage, Mountain View is home to a couple of cool Civil War sections, as well as the graves of many prominent African-American citizens from the last 160 years, including Thomas Ellsworth, who earned a Congressional Medal of Honor in the Civil War; A.J. Bertonneaux, the Creole business leader who brought football to the Rose Parade celebrations; and Eldridge Cleaver, a founding member of the Black Panther Party. You’ll also find such literary pioneers as John Ransom, who wrote the bleak Civil War book Andersonville Diary; Earl Derr Biggers, the mystery novelist who created detective Charlie Chan; MacArthur Genius Octavia Butler; and a bunch of regular old geniuses (Richard Feynman, 1965 Nobel Prize winner; Thaddeus Lowe, inventor and railway pioneer; George Reeves, TV’s Superman; and Wilbur Hatch, conductor of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra). Hologram biographies of the residents are available on a limited basis. Halloween weekend tours are offered infrequently through local historical societies, and they’re well worth attending.
2400 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena, 626.794.7133, mtn-view.com. Open daily; closes at dusk.