Photography by Jeff Hunt and Michelle Kilfeather
San Francisco's cemetery history is rich, to say the least. It goes something like this:
In Part 1 of the four-part series we're doing on San Francisco Cemeteries, we'll meet Courtney Minick of Here Lies a Story. Courtney will serve as our guide through this history.
Along the way, we'll meet folks who work with the cemeteries that are left over here in The City—the one at Mission Dolores and San Francisco National Cemetery. We'll take walking tours of the Mission and the pet cemetery in the Presidio.
Interestingly, as we were putting these episodes together, the Board of Supervisors' Land Use Committee voted unanimously in favor of granting City Cemetery landmark status. Now the matter goes before the full board sometime this month. The timing!
In Part 2, we first hear from Courtney Minick of Here Lies a Story about the parking lot just outside of Mission Dolores.
Then we meet Andy Galvan, the Mission's curator. He tells us all about his work and his Ohlone/Bay Miwok ancestral connection to the place, including the graveyard. We end this episode with a walking tour of the graveyard, which Andy guided us on. Among others, we encountered the graves of:
We wanted to let you know that, tomorrow afternoon (Oct. 12) at 12:30, there will be an online discussion of the history of City Cemetery at Lincoln Park and its recent city landmark designation. Register here.
Also, on the evenings of Oct. 28 and 29 and again on Nov. 4 and 5, Andy will lead flashlight tours of the Mission Cemetery.
In Part 3, Courtney tells us all about Alma deBretteville Spreckels, the San Francisco sugar baroness who built the Legion of Honor at Lincoln Park, the cemetery-turned-golf course in the northwest corner of The City. From there, we recount the history of the "Big Four" cemeteries, which were located in and around the intersection of Geary and Masonic.
Then we hand things over to Kathy McCall, director at the Presidio's San Francisco National Cemetery, one of two graveyards that remain in San Francisco today. Among notable burials there:
In Part 4, we meet Rob Thompson, federal preservation officer at the Presidio Trust. Rob shares the history of San Francisco's pet cemetery, which dates back to 1952.
The pet cemetery sits in a part of the Presidio known as Cavalry Bowl, which for a century was dedicated to animal management when the Presidio was home to the U.S. Army. The cemetery was established by Army families during that time, until they left in the 1990s. Since then, the only burials there are what we decided to call "illicit" burials.
We end the episode with a walk-through, where we encounter the colorful names and epitaphs of a wide variety of around 420 animals.
This episode concludes our series on San Francisco cemeteries. We'd like to thank Courtney Minick, Andy Galvan, Kathy McCall, Lisa Petrie, and Rob Thompson for their collaboration on these episodes.
And thank you for listening.