San Francisco Grave Removals 1930s – 1940s

The Gage family was one of many who were affected by grave removals in San Francisco.

With growing pressure to make efficient use of the valuable real estate, San Francisco’s dead had to make way for the living.

By the end of 1948, bodies in several pioneer cemeteries were moved to a mass grave site forty miles south in Colma, California.

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

Phineas Gage’s niece, Delia Presby (Shattuck) Oliver’s gravestone appears on Ocean Beach when heavy storms move sand out to sea. It was last uncovered on June 4, 2012. The lettering — still legible — reads; Delia Presby, wife of, F.B. Oliver, Died, April 9, 1890, Aged 26 yrs., 10 mos. 27 days, — Rest –

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Wave Organ in San Francisco - photo by Kārlis Dambrāns - https://www.flickr.com/photos/janitors/15174001514
Wave Organ in San Francisco – photo by
Kārlis Dambrāns – https://www.flickr.com/photos/janitors/15174001514

 

Background Research:

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

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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? | Transcript

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

Ocean Beach Headstones – Weird San Francisco History

122 Year-old Gravestone Washes Up on Ocean Beach

Find a Grave

Other San Francisco Cemetery Information:

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

Additional Gage Resources

Lisa’s San Francisco History Research Sources on Pinterest

The San Francisco information above was gathered in preparation to write the novella Phases of Gage: After the Accident Years.

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