Skip to content

Abolitionist gravesite gets historical landmark nomination


Owen Brown last survivor of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry

This week, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion introduced by Supervisor Kathryn Barger that nominates renowned abolitionist Owen Brown’s gravesite to be designated as a Los Angeles County Historical Landmark. 

A commemorative rustic stone and additional stones placed to mark the presumed outline of Mr. Brown’s body currently identify his final resting place in Altadena, on a hilltop at the northern end of El Prieto Road. 

“It is a great honor to nominate Owen Brown’s gravesite as a historical landmark,” Barger said. “His fight against slavery and unwavering commitment to treating all human beings with dignity, respect, and equality reflects his courage and vision. Preserving his gravesite will help future generations pay homage to his memory.”

Barger also thanked members of the Altadena community who have formed the Owen Brown Committee and have served as advocates for the historic landmark designation. Committee member and local Altadena resident Michele Zack provided public testimony during the Board of Supervisors’ meeting. “It’s a long time coming,” Zack stated. “Altadena Heritage first nominated the site in 1989, but it was turned down. We have kept alive efforts to honor this sacred site – a memorial to those who fought to end slavery in America – for over 35 years.”

Owen Brown was born on Nov. 4, 1824 in Hudson, Ohio – one of twenty children from his father’s (abolitionist John Brown) first family. At the time of his death, he was the last survivor of John’s Brown’s historic raid on Harpers Ferry. He died in Altadena on Jan. 8, 1889. When his funeral was held, two days later in Pasadena, a local newspaper at the time reported, “It was a historic day in Pasadena.”