Lone Mountain/Laurel Hill Cemetery

Lone Mountain Cemetery opened June 28, 1854 and was renamed Laurel Hill Cemetery in 1867. Laurel Hill was known for its prestigious burials, including civic and military leaders, inventors, artists, and eleven United States Senators. Due to overcrowding and vandalism, Mayor Phelan signed an order prohibiting the burial of the dead within city limits in 1900. In 1913 the Board of Supervisors ordered all cemeteries closed and bodies removed, but voters overturned the orders. Nonetheless, the City of Lawndale (now Colma) was incorporated by the Associated Cemeteries in 1924 and Laurel Hill burials were eventually relocated to Colma after 1937, when the Supervisors successfully passed their ordinance. WWII slowed the relocation efforts, which weren’t completed until 1948.

The vast majority of bodies were moved to mass gravesites, and anyone wanting to have decedents privately reburied had to pay for it themselves. Laurel Hill's site is located in Cypress Lawn Cemetery, and called Laurel Hill Mound. Anyone who wanted to preserve a loved one’s tombstone had to pay for it themselves, and those left more than 90 days after the relocation were turned over to the Department of Public Works. They were repurposed for sea wall construction at Aquatic Park, creation of a breakwater in the Marina, lining for rain gutters in Buena Vista Park, and erosion control at Ocean Beach.

More information about the Lone Mountain/Laurel Hill Cemetery can be found in the book, San Francisco's Laurel Hill. The book can be viewed at Internet Archives using the following link.

San Francisco's Laurel Hill


County Coordinator
Copyright © 2016  
All Rights Reserved