Rocklin History Tour – Stop 18. 

Joel Parker Whitney’s Pyramid Tomb

This tomb is near the 11th green of the Whitney Oaks Golf Course, to the north of Monument Park.

In January 1913, Joel Parker Whitney died at Del Monte, California after a long bout with kidney disease. He was 78.  His cremated remains and those of at least 23 of his forebears and descendents are interred here. The pyramid shape probably resulted from Whitney’s believe in Pyramidology, the belief that pyramids hold magical powers, including the power to bestow reincarnation.

The tomb is about 15 feet high and constructed of granite blocks with a white marble-lined interior.

By family tradition Whitney created this tomb for himself in his declining years, however a note in Whitney’s diary by his son Vincent indicates that Vincent ordered it built after his father’s death. Curiously there are three interments of people who died more than 20 years before Whitney, his mother and father and one of his sisters.

Several family members reunite at the tomb each year in May and about once every five years they open the tomb for new interments. At least one interment has been removed for fear of vandalism. Recently vandals left graffiti on the entry door and on the granite lintel above.

The tomb is centered in an enclosure of piled rocks and native granite boulders, a structure which Whitney called The Fort. The boulders show bedrock mortars where Nisenan women and children ground acorns into mush until the early 19th century.

To learn more about the History of Rocklin, visit www.rocklinhistory.org.

  • Gary Day with photos Roy Salisbury