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Marquez descendant hopes to restore family cemetery in Santa Monica Canyon

Preservationists aim to learn the boundaries and burial locations of the historic Marquez Family Cemetery to develop a restoration plan and open it to the public.

January 19, 2009|Martha Groves

Although nothing is official, the owner's attorney has hinted that she might be willing to sell. La Senora Research Institute could line up donors to buy the property, said Tish Nettleship, the institute's founder.

The 3-D data gleaned from the recent surveys should help spark interest. So far, they reveal at least four possible areas of unmarked remains that should be tested, said Dean Goodman, a Woodland Hills geophysicist who is helping with the mapping.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, January 24, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 61 words Type of Material: Correction
Marquez cemetery: An article in Monday's California section about the Marquez Family Cemetery in Santa Monica Canyon said the cemetery, owned by Ernest Marquez, is the only portion of an original Mexican land grant that remains in the Marquez family's hands. Rosemary Marquez Romero Miano, another descendant of Francisco Marquez, also owns a piece of property from the original land grant.

"We also see something that looks like the original adobe foundation," Goodman said one recent morning at the site. Goodman has previously surveyed ancient buried wall foundations in Vescovio, Italy; a buried garden pond at the villa of Roman emperor Trajan; Genghis Khan's palace in eastern Mongolia; imperial family tombs in Osaka, Japan; and the Presidio in San Francisco.

Much remains to be done before the site can be restored. But supporters envision grave markers, pathways and lovely landscaping.

The cemetery, one of the city's oldest burial grounds, is the only portion of the original Mexican land grant that remains in the Marquez family's hands.

That makes it imperative that it be preserved, Nettleship said.

"We've lost track of our history," she said. "We need to make the next generation aware of the value of knowing the history of those who came before us."

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martha.groves@latimes.com

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