1985 Oak Park Cemetery
OAK PARK CEMETERY Filming Location from Back to the Future part II
PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO VISITORS ALLOWED. SUUUUCKS
When they filmed Back to the Future part II, they filmed the cemetery scene down in Wilmington, California. If you’ve ever been to Wilmington, odds are you won’t want to go back. It’s full of oil refineries and there are times where the smell is overpowering. When you’re not surrounded by refineries, you’re probably surrounded by gangs, as the city is plagued by crime. I’m sure there’s probably a portion of wilmington that residents would describe as “nice” – but I’ve never seen it, and until I see it with my own eyes, I have to admit I’m plagued by doubt.
Marty has learned that in the alternate timeline, (1985a, or just ‘Alternate 1985’) his Father has been murdered. His mother tells him to go to Oak Park Cemetery. Filmed against a backdrop of refinery smokestacks, the setting of the scene made Marty’s discovery of his Father’s murder and Doc’s revelation of being committed to a mental asylum that much more intense.
In order to have a cemetery at a refinery, the location scouts traveled down to Wilmington, where the Ultramar refinery, in an early attempt to look “green,” had a landscaped duck pond on the property. Unfortunately, all the ducks died or found somewhere less disgusting to live, and after several phone calls I was informed by employees of Valero that the area was long since bulldozed and replaced with a large crude oil tank.
Still determined to stand where Marty and Doc stood, I visited the refinery office on numerous occasions, only to be rejected as a visitor. Not only are there serious safety concerns for visitors, but ever since 9-11, rigid and extreme security measures are in place as well. You wouldn’t think it’d be so hard to visit a refinery. As a matter of fact, on the old version of the site I had listed the GPS coordinates, and I literally received an email from the office of Homeland Security politely-but-firmly requesting that I remove the information. I did.
In the years since, I finally managed to get ahold of an employee who’s been there since the 80s. The area with the duck pond, he confirmed, was leveled and a good portion of the background scenery was rebuilt around the tanks. When I asked about getting a photo that would line up with the background of the shot, he looked around for me and let me know that it’s impossible. All hope gone. I feel almost as bad as Marty did standing in the cemetery itself, but I have to declare this location dead. Gone. Lost. All I could get from Valero was a link to a page about the history of their refinery;
Significant new construction and upgrades took place in the early 1980s and mid-1990s with the latter focused mainly on the addition of hydrotreating capacity
So, in the King’s English that means they basically demolished the duck pond area that helped them look environmentally savvy to become actually more environmentally friendly. Hydrotreating removes Sulfur dioxide emissions from fuels.
I’ve put the GPS coordinates and address back up, and I have some photos from the refinery. In an effort to be ‘transparent’ these companies are a lot friendlier to the public than they used to be, and a lot more open about these types of locations.
Sadly, theres little-to-no reason for a BTTF fan, however extreme, to visit this location. It’s far out of the way of the other sites, and like I said, it’s gone without a trace.
ADDRESS: 2402 E. Anaheim St. Wilmington, CA 90744
GPS COORDINATES: +33° 46′ 48.83″, -118° 14′ 12.94″