Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation
History and museums
The Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation is in Los Angeles, California. The shrine is a 75-foot-tall (23 m) structure of marble, mosaic, and sculpted figures and is the burial site for fifteen pioneers of aviation. It was built in 1924 as the entrance to Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery. Aviation enthusiast James Gillette was impressed by the rotunda's close proximity to the airport and Lockheed Aircraft Company. He conceived a plan to use the structure as a shrine to aviation and worked to that end for two decades. It was dedicated in 1953 by aviation enthusiasts who wanted a final resting place for pilots, mechanics, and other pioneers of flight.
Dedicated to the honored dead of American aviation on the 50th anniversary of powered flight, December 17, 1953, by Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker USAF (retired). Beneath the memorial tablets in this sacred portal rest the cremated remains of famous flyers who contributed so much to the history and development of aviation. The bronze plaques upon the marble walls memorialize beloved Americans who devoted their lives to the advancement of the air age. Administered under the auspices of the Brookins–Lahm–Wright Aeronautical Foundation, this shrine stands as a lasting tribute.
On May 27, 1996, it was rededicated by Dr. Tom Crouch, Chairman of the Aeronautics Department at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.