June gloom, as it’s called here in San Francisco, has started to set in and quickly! What little sunshine we have is quickly taken over by a chilly fog. I could think of nothing better to do for gloomy day 6 than to set out and go looking for tombstones used in the building of Buena Vista Park!
If you’ve ever visited San Francisco and wondered where the cemeteries are, you aren’t the only one. I love strolling though graveyards (livin that creep life) so it was one of the first things I noticed that was missing. That led me to research why and it’s fascinating!
Right around the turn of the century (1900s), San Francisco decided to get rid of all its cemeteries to make room for development. This posed the problem of what to do with the bodies and tombstones. If a family could afford it, they would pay to move them both to another resting place outside the city, unfortunately there were many families who simply did not have the funds to pay for a second funeral. The bodies belonging to those families were buried in mass graves and their tombstones either thrown into the ocean or used in development around the city. Still to this day, full gravesites are found when construction is done where the Big 4 cemeteries of SF used to be.
Today I had the pleasure of being joined by my lovely friend, Jaclyn! Not only did it make the walk go by quickly, it’s so nice having an hour to catch up! We can easily fill an hour talking about nothing. At one point we were trailed by a homeless man for a while. It’s something that isn’t that uncommon here, but it doesn’t change how unsettling it can be. We definitely felt like a deer in the woods, and he literally followed us into an UPS store and then seemed startled to find where he was. Luckily, he decided we weren’t worth the line that is always present when you need to ship something quickly, and moved on.
About 40 minutes into our walk, we went by the San Francisco Mint. A huge and gray building, it had Jurassic Park level security. Which we all know means dinosaurs can get out and humans never leave.
After hiking up several hills (and refusing to hike up a few) we finally reached the park and its endless stairs. It wasn’t long before we started noticing the marble tombstones lining the gutters. Some were dented and dirty, others smooth and clean. We even found a few with fragments of writing. It was SO COOL!! It’s also interesting knowing that no matter how many arrangements one can make, once you’re gone,you are gone. I don’t know about y’all, but I would much rather have my gravestone lining a park waiting to be discovered, rather than sitting in a manicured lawn.
So many stairs.
Clearing out the gutters & looking for tombstones. We’re either cursed or thanked.
Died 18-something : Lived 52 years