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Whitney Plaques- Rocklin History Brief

At a lantern-lit pre-Halloween ceremony on October 30, The Rocklin Historical Society placed a granite plaque of identification at the Whitney family tomb near Rocklin’s Monument Park. The tomb is an often photographed pyramid jutting 15 feet skyward from an iron-fenced enclosure near the 11th green of the Whitney Oaks Golf Course. It contains the cremated remains of seventeen Whitney family members and close friends, but it has been unmarked until now to discourage vandalism.

The Plaque honors Joel Parker Whitney who developed the 27,000 acre Spring Valley Ranch near Rocklin in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Western Rocklin is astride the southern 12,000 acres of that Ranch.

The Society thanked a private donor and Rocklin schools’ third grade history classes of 2003 and 2004 for raising funds for the project. They also thanked Rob Scherer of Boy Scout Troop 29 for proposing the project to the Whitney family and for building the plaque’s foundation and pedestal.

“Tourists and new Rocklin residents can now read about the historical significance of this site” said Society spokesman Gene Johnson. “This is one step toward identification of several of Rocklin’s points of historical significance.”

The plaque includes 2 square nails salvaged from the 1954 demolition of Joel Parker’s Oaks mansion which was located about 600 yards to the West. A resident on Knoll Court has placed a plaque at the site of that mansion.

Details of the Pyramid’s origin are sketchy. One theory is that Joel Parker constructed it in the mid-1880’s at the deaths of his mother and father who are entombed there. One family member said that Joel Parker’s third wife Lucy Chadwick Whitney ordered its construction at Joel Parker’s death in 1913. The pyramid’s site was originally a play area for Joel Parker’s children. Whitney family descendents meet at the site each May for a memorial picnic.

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