One of my favorite headstone’s at Hollywood Forever is the weeping woman, maybe because it reminds me of the famous Weeping Woman of the Logan City Cemetery. The headstone makes it clear who’s buried there, F.W. Blanchard, but it wasn’t very easy to find information on the life of the man buried here.
Frederick Woodward Blanchard was born in Millbury, Massachusetts on August 25th, 1864. In 1886 he moved to Los Angeles and soon gained the reputation of a prominent businessman.
He planned and managed the Blanchard Music & Art Building, otherwise known as Blanchard Hall. This building contained offices and studios for musicians and artists, a recital hall, and it also had the distinction of housing the first art gallery in Los Angeles. On top of all of that, it was the first building west of Chicago devoted to only music and art. Blanchard would go on to found and direct the famous Brahms Quartet, and the Municipal Art Commission, serve as President of the American Opera Association, President of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, President of the Hollywood Art Association, and President of the Gamut Club. Over the years F. W. Blanchard brought numerous international musical celebrities to Los Angeles, and would compose an opera called Costia and a fiesta march called “Our Italy.”
In spite all of those accomplishments, he is most often remembered for helping to found and financially support the Hollywood Bowl. He also served as the first President of the Hollywood Bowl. I found his graveside eulogy and there was a line that I thought fit perfectly with one of the things I try to accomplish with The Dead History; bringing the stories of people who have been long dead and often forgotten back to life.
When the Hollywood Bowl vibrates with its starlight symphonies, his spirit is there. Though his name, save in the hearts of the survivors who knew him and valued him through personal contact, may in time be only a name to the curious seeking memorials of the past in a city’s valhalla…
F.W. Blanchard died on September 21st, 1928 at the Hollywood Hospital from complications of kidney disease. He was buried in the Hollywood Cemetery on Wednesday, October 3rd, 1928.