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Famous Grave Sites - San Francisco Bay Area

Locate Famous Interments in the Bay Area

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The history of San Francisco's cemeteries is one of relocation. After 1900, the expanding city evicted most of the cemeteries, citing health issues. The cemeteries remaining in San Francisco are San Francisco National Cemetery (Presidio) and Mission Dolores Cemetery.

Many of San Francisco's graves were re-interred at Colma, south of the city. There are also famous tombs at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. The list below shows cemeteries where visitors can pay respects to some of San Francisco's famous.

See the Find a Grave Website for detailed descriptions of famous graves throughout the Bay Area and California.

1. San Francisco National Cemetery

san francisco presidio cemeteryPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

Famous graves at San Francisco National Cemetery include:

  • African American Buffalo Soldiers
  • Maj. Gen. Frederick Funston
  • Pauline Cushman-Fryer (Union spy)
  • Sarah Bowman (cared for troops in Mexican War)

The National Park Service schedules regular (free) tours of this historic cemetery. Check the monthly schedule for upcoming tours.

The National Cemetery slopes upward on a hill, with views to the Golden Gate Bridge. Not far from here is the Presidio's equally famous pet cemetery. The pet resting place is shaded by trees, lush with greenery -- and filled with poignant memorials to beloved companion animals.

More about: Presidio San Francisco
See location on the San Francisco Neighborhood Map
Detailed Map of Presidio Grounds (pdf)

2. Mission Dolores Cemetery

The Mission Dolores Cemetery holds the graves of 5,000 Ohlone and Miwok, along with others who built Mission Dolores. Markers date from 1830 to the late 1800s.

The cemetery is a quiet, walled garden adjacent to the historic mission. It's a memorial place seeped in its own history, feeling more like a European church enclave than one in the middle of San Francisco.

Mission Dolores
Mission District 16th and Dolores
San Francisco, CA
See the Mission District on a San Francisco Neighborhood Map

3. Mountain View Cemetery (Oakland)

mountain view cemetery oaklandPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

Famous graves at Mountain View include:

  • Charles Crocker: Founder of Southern Pacific Railroad and Crocker Bank
  • Julia Morgan: Architect (Berkeley Greek Theatre, Hearst Castle)
  • Bernard Maybeck: Architect (Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco)
  • James Folger: Founder of Folgers Coffee
  • Domenico Ghirardelli: Founder of Ghirardelli Chocolate
  • Henry Haight: Governor of California

Mountain View cemetery climbs a steep hill from Piedmont Avenue, to panoramic views of San Francisco Bay and Oakland. The Crocker and Ghirardelli mausoleums reside on Millionaires Row (pictured here) -- near the top, with sweeping vistas.

Docent-led tours happen at 10am on the second Saturday of each month.

Mountain View Cemetery
5000 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611

4. Cypress Lawn Memorial Park (Colma)

cypress lawn colmaPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

Famous graves at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park include:

  • Charles de Young: Founder of the San Francisco Chronicle
  • Andrew Hallidie: Inventor of San Francisco's cable cars
  • William Randolph Hearst: Media magnate, Hearst Castle
  • John McLaren: Golden Gate Park landscaper and early San Francisco Parks Superintendent
  • Lefty O'Doul: Major League Baseball player
  • Claus Spreckels: Founder of Spreckels Sugar Company

Cypress Lawn is huge, spanning multiple sections across El Camino Real. The section on the east side, past the ponds and through the castle-like portal is the most dramatic in terms of monuments and setting.

Cypress Lawn
El Camino Real & Serramonte
Colma, CA

Stop in the Colma Historical Society for more information on Colma and its past.

5. Holy Cross Catholic Cemeteries (Colma)

holy cross catholic cemetery colmaPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

Famous graves at Holy Cross Catholic Cemeteries include:

  • Joe DiMaggio: Baseball player, married to Marilyn Monroe
  • Vince Guaraldi: Jazz pianist and creator of Peanuts theme
  • George Moscone: Mayor of San Francisco, assassinated along with Harvey Milk in 1978
  • Edmund G. Brown: California Governor and father of Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown

The reception in the main office at Holy Cross has a walking tour brochure for those interested in paying respects at the individual sites.

Holy Cross Catholic Cemeteries
1500 Mission Road
Colma, CA 94014

Stop in the Colma Historical Society for more information on Colma and its past.

6. Hills of Eternity Memorial Park (Colma)

hills of eternity colmaPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

The most famous interment at Hills of Eternity Jewish cemetery is Wyatt Earp, known best for his part in the Gunfight at O.K. Coral in Tombstone, Arizona.

Hills of Eternity closes a bit earlier than some of the other cemeteries along El Camino Real in Colma which are generally open sun up to sun down. Hills of Eternity found its way into song lyrics on Buckethead's Colma album.

Hills of Eternity Memorial Park
1301 El Camino Real
Colma, CA 94014

Stop in the Colma Historical Society for more information on Colma and its past.

7. Woodlawn Cemetery (Colma)

woodlawn memorial park colmaPhoto © Ingrid Taylar

The most famous graves at Woodlawn are that of Etienne Guittard (founder of Guittard Chocolate), and Emperor Norton (Joshua Abraham Norton) -- iconic figure in San Francisco history

You'll often hear that famous author Henry Miller is buried at Woodlawn. The confusion arises because of the fact that California cattle rancher Henry Miller is, in fact, interred at Woodlawn. The famous author, on the other hand, had his ashes spread at Big Sur -- the coastal retreat that's also home to the Henry Miller Library.

Woodlawn Cemetery
1000 El Camino Real
Colma, CA 94014

Stop in the Colma Historical Society for more information on Colma and its past.

8. Neptune Society Columbarium (San Francisco)

This columbarium (repository for human ashes) was part of the Odd Fellows cemetery, the graves from which were moved to Colma. The ashes of Harvey Milk and Chet Helms are here.

Visitors can take tours at the Columbarium. It's open everyday. See Columbarium website for hours.

San Francisco Columbarium
1 Loraine Court (near Geary)
San Francisco, CA

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