Research: San Francisco Cemetery Removal

In 1902, San Francisco Board of Supervisors disallowed burials within the city limits (Ordinance #8108).
In the 1930’s and 1940’s, the City of San Francisco evicted the cemeteries, creating a ‘pioneer mound’ – a mass gravesite – holding forty thousand bodies at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California.

This is where Phineas and other members of his family eventually came to rest.

Encyclopedia of San Francisco – Removal of San Francisco Cemeteries

1950 Location, regulation, and removal of cemeteries in the City of San Francisco by William A. Proctor
Department of City Planning
City and County of San Francisco

 A Second Final Rest: The History of San Francisco’s Lost Cemeteries film by Trina Lopez

KQED Radio Program: Why are all of San Francisco’s Dead People Buried in Colma?


Bodies found during the construction of San Francisco’s Legion of Honor
‘Still Rooms’ Slide Show by Photographer Richard Barnes

Cemetery of the Week #145: The Ghost of San Francisco’s Laurel Hill

Delia Presby Shattuck Oliver’s Gravestone:

The lettering — still legible — reads; Delia Presby, wife of, F.B. Oliver, Died, April 9, 1890, Aged 26 yrs., 10 mos. 27 days. – Rest –

122 Year-old Gravestone Washes Up on Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach Headstones – Weird San Francisco History

Find a Grave

Tombstone Civic Uses and Appearances:

History of Erosion on Ocean Beach by Bill McLaughlin Surfrider Foundation, San Francisco Chapter

Removal of San Francisco Cemeteries
By the end of 1948 what was left of the Gage and Shattuck families, along with numerous pioneers who birthed the city of San Francisco, would be disinterred from the Laurel Hill (Lone Mountain renamed) cemetery and moved to a mass gravesite forty miles south in Colma, California.

Tombstones Used in Civic Projects

Wave Organ in San Francisco – photo by
Kārlis Dambrāns

Thousands of tombstones were recycled and used in a variety of civic projects; the sea wall at Yacht Harbor and breakwaters at the Aquatic Park and Marina Green, construction of the Wave Organ, as fill bedding for the Great Highway, as paving stones in the storm drains at Buena Vista Park, and as erosion control at Ocean Beach.