A cemetery for San Francisco

A private company that had taken possession of a tract of land about two and a half miles west of Portsmouth Square, essentially by squatting on it, dedicated the land in a religious service and sermon by Edward D. Baker on May 30, 1854 as Lone Mountain Cemetery. As originally conceived in November of the year before this burial ground would constitute three hundred and twenty acres including the isolated cone shaped hill called Lone Mountain but since then was reduced to one hundred and sixty acres and excluded Lone Mountain, then, after opening, the size was reduced again by half and the project given the name of Laurel Hill.

Lone Mountain Cemetary 1857

In those days the only access was by Pacific Street to the Presidio, a circuitous route of some three or four miles that included crossing two steep hills. But within several months Bush Street was graded and planked and provided a direct and relatively level road mostly through sand and chaparral to this new city of the dead. All of the original three hundred acres plus several square miles beyond were then covered in dense thickets of scrub oak and other vegetation that cloaked the hills around with a thick mantle of evergreen of particular beauty, and contrasted sharply with the miles of white, drifting sand dunes along the ocean shore. The striking beauty of this landscape has long since disappeared under the sprawl of San Francisco and even the serene city of the dead was dug up and moved away.

Lone Mountain Cemetery


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