Address: 3898 Valhalla Dr, Burbank
Burbank has long been known as a home to aviation. The Portal of the Folded Wings is a 75-foot shrine that was originally built in 1924 as an entrance to the Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery. It was designed by Kenneth A. MacDonald Jr., who is known for his residential and commercial work in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and sculptor, Federico Augustino Giorgi. The Shrine was originally called the Valhalla Memorial Rotunda and was renamed Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation on December 17, 1953. It was rededicated to the honored dead of American aviation on the 50th anniversary of powered flight, in a ceremony for Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker, who was a general of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. It is also the burial site for fifteen pioneers of aviation.
On the grounds is also the Burbank Aviation Museum which is open the first Sunday of every month from 1 to 3 pm. The museum has displays of Lockheed history and includes information about the famous Aviators buried on the grounds. The Lockheed Aircraft Company, whose headquarters are in Burbank, was founded in 1926 and under the guidance of Clarence (Kelly) Johnson, who is considered one of the best-known American aircraft designers, produced everything related to aviation including: civil and military transports, fighter aircrafts, helicopters, missiles, space technology, and even a sea vessel and some rail vehicles. Lockheed is known for its productions during World War II but also made major productions during the Cold War. They continued to operate until they merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995. Lockheed Martin still operates today as an American aerospace, arms, defense, information security, and technology company with worldwide interests and employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide as of January 2020.
The Burbank Airport which has been renamed many times including the name Bob Hope Airport, named November 6, 2003, in honor of the American comedian who used to live in Burbank up until his passing earlier that year. It was renamed as the Hollywood Burbank Airport in 2017 in order for those outside the area to recognize it, but its legal name still remains as Bob Hope Airport. Burbank is one of the few cities in LA that has its own airport. The airport has been operating 1930 and was the largest commercial airport in the Los Angeles area until the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) opened in 1947. Many Lockheed aircrafts were built and tested at the airport and it even served as their secret building and testing site during World War II when Southern California’s defense plants risked surveillance and attack.
EDB which stands for Eat, Drink, and Be, is a restaurant connected to the Marriott hotel which is right by the airport. It was only opened in the last four years in July 2017, yet it has already made a name for itself. It is a modern restaurant resembling the Southern California lifestyle and includes: fresh ingredients, local flavors, handcrafted cocktails, craft brews on tap, and a fine selection of California wines; all served on a contemporary outdoor terrace.
We will start at the Portal of the Folded Wings shrine and then walk-through arches to the Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery. We will then check out the Burbank Aviation Museum to look at some of the amazing Lockheed memorabilia before making our way to the Burbank Airport. Finally, we will finish at EDB for a tasty meal, fine drinks, and to relax and enjoy each other's company.