Dr. Alfred Hirschi was a geologist for the early French Syndicate Oil Company, After the death of his wife Irene, he asked the Simi Valley Women’s Club to allow him to build this cenotaph to her memory on their grounds on Church Street in Old Community Center. Irene had been a dedicated club member, and the club expected perhaps a beautiful fountain with appropriate landscaping.
However, it had been revealed to Dr. Hirschi in a dream or vision that he was to honor Irene and the medieval poet Dante, in this allegorical fashion, illustrating the Devine Message with lighted photographs. It was his plan that the message would be shared each Easter.
It was moved here in 1971 from the Women’s Club property. It is not, and never was, a tomb and it has no relationship to the Strathearn family.
Inside the monument are lighted photographs that show Irene and the rock formation in their garden at their home near the mouth of Tapo Canyon. It was in these formations that the message was revealed to Dr. Hirschi, referring to Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, as described in Dante’s “Divine Comedy.”