In Focus: Forest Lawn Memorial Park
For Whom the Memorial Bell tolls? It tolls for thee …
STORY, PHOTOS BY NATHALIE TAGHABONI
This very picturesque park is located just south of Shields Road, between Glenwood Avenue on the west and Market Street on the east, across from Market Street Elementary School. The entrance to the park off Market Street is particularly enchanting. As you pass through the archway there, you are met with a meticulously manicured center grass way and tree-lined pitched approach to the church. The serene atmosphere is very apparent despite being in the heart of the bustling Boardman area.
The Little Church of Forest Lawn sits in the southern portion of Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The cornerstone tells us that in 1935, it was dedicated to Raymond F. Book, Earl M. McBride, Paul M. Ludt and Dennis (Denny) T. Peters, the founders of Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Munroe Walker Copper Jr. was the architect, and the church was built by Hadlock Krill and Co.
This large property was once farmland and, according to townsfolk, was slated to become a housing development, but the war caused plans to be changed, and the memorial site was put in place. The manager of the grounds, Patrick Manning, told The Vindicator there are four Forest Lawn Memorial Parks in the U.S. — two in New York, one in California and this one here in the Mahoning Valley.
Stone structures adorn the grounds, each with a convenient bench so that one can sit and quietly contemplate. At the far northwest edge, there is a wood-and-stone resting area. At the western edge near the groundskeeper’s shed, a breathtaking stone, almost-monolithic structure of a carved book stands, turned to the Lord’s Prayer. East of there before one reaches the church, there is a large, circular, cuplike artifact – once called the “Wishing Well.” It was a fountain years ago but found new life as a planter.
The dignified and beautifully appointed office for the site is annexed to the church on its south side.
The hours are: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, contact by phone is: (330) 752-3386.