Mission Dolores Cemetery

Photo added by James Seidelman

Mission Dolores Cemetery

Also known as Mission San Francisco de Asis Cemetery

3321 16th Street
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, 94114 USA
Memorials 1,210 added (22% photographed)


The oldest burial ground in the city of San Francisco, the Mission was founded on October 9, 1776 when the padres chose a site besides a little inlet called Laguna Dolores near the pueblo of Yerba Buena. As time went by the town changed its name to San Francisco, while the mission became popularly known as Mission Dolores.

The oldest remaining building in San Francisco, the mission church survived the great earthquake and fire of 1906 unharmed. Outside the church, only the old cemetery is as it was. The church is the only remaining mission building.

Besides the cemetery, there are several people buried in the floor of the old church including some of the founding Friars.

Removal of bodies began on April 8, 1889 because of the Sixteenth-street extension. Ten of the bodies have been interred in Mount Calvary Cemetery; 40 at the cemetery of the Holy Cross in San Mateo County; 1, that of Senor Peralta, has been sent to Oakland; 1, named Murphy, sent to Vallejo; 2 children sent to Odd Fellows' cemetery, and the remaining 446, have been reinterred in another part of the Mission Cemetery. One of these is Thomas Ford, a former stock-broker and society leader, and Senor Diaz, an old Spaniard Don. The three bodies disinterred yesterday were found beneath the roots of cypress trees that had been planted upward of thirty years ago. In every instance, except two or three recent interments, there was nothing to be found except a few bones, or badly corroded coffin plates. These, as a rule, were placed in new boxes. There was no mixing of bodies. When they were unknown, a simple cross marks the place of reinternment, upon which is inscribed "unknown," or sometimes the number of the lot or grave from which they were taken. This, however, has seldom been necessary as most of the remains were localized by a slab or tablet.

There were originally 5,515 more graves that extended West on Chula Lane, mostly Native Americans, who were moved to a group grave, in accordance with the Indians' wishes, near today's Grotto and a statue of Kateri Tekawitha, a Mohwak maiden, with the following inscription: "In prayerful memory of our faithful Indians". They had the custom of burying in rows and in time disinter and put the remains in a "Charnel House" which they had at the Mission before the mass removal. The others, early Christians and church staff were moved to Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma in the 1930's.


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GPS Coordinates: 37.7596359, -122.4366150

  • Added: 28 Jul 2003
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #1967445