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Holy Cross Colma
 
Our History

As the oldest and largest Cemetery in "the city of cemeteries," Colma, California, Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery is rich in California history. This historical legacy translates into the important values of tradition, experience, stability and trust. For over 125 years, Holy Cross management and staff have been committed to providing compassionate and responsive service to families during their time of greatest need.

Experience fosters understanding and encourages a caring competence. Holy Cross staff utilizes its century of experience with Catholic funeral and burial traditions to build a bridge of hope and consolation for families during their most difficult days. Our longevity embodies a devotion to excellence and a commitment to service that has endured for generations.

The foundation for Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery began when Mt. Calvary Cemetery in San Francisco was nearing capacity. Archbishop Patrick W. Riordan looked south of the city in the 1880's to remedy the need for more burial space. In 1886 he purchased 300 acres of the Buri Buri rancho for the new cemetery in what would eventually be known as the town of Colma.

Holy Cross opened in 1887 with people complaining that it was "too far from San Francisco". Archbishop Riordan's foresight proved correct, as the area developed into San Francisco's "City of the Dead". A reporter for the The Monitor concluded that the Archbishop had chosen the site well. "A more suitable place for the burial of our dead would be difficult to find". The space currently remaining will serve the Catholic Community for another 150-200 years.

 
Notable Figures Buried at Holy Cross

Many notable civic leaders, historical figures, politicians, civil servants and Catholic religious figures of cherished bygone eras now rest in Holy Cross. A walk through the cemetery produces images of families from many different nations who settled in San Francisco and its peninsula. People come to this inspiring place to pay their respect to the deceased and to meditate in the beautiful, quiet surroundings.

The first interment, that of Timothy Buckley, was on June 7th, 1887. Since then, many legendary Californians of different eras have proudly selected Holy Cross as their final resting place. These well known people include: San Francisco Mayor and state Senator during the period of the famous earthquake James Phelan; California Governor Edmund "Pat" Brown; Founder of the San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Henry de Young; baseball legend Joe DiMaggio; the assassinated (1978) San Francisco Mayor George Moscone; Bank of America Founder A.P. Giannini; famed sculptor Benny Bufano and many others. An informative walking tour brochure revealing these and other graves sites is available at the reception desk in the main office.

Joe DiMaggioBenny Bufano

Holy Cross is privileged to enjoy a rich history, valued traditions and lovely natural surroundings in the serene valley of Colma. Its rolling hills studded with stately, century old trees, welcome families with its inherent beauty and peaceful appeal. Due to the vision of our predecessors over a century ago, our future and yours, is sheltered from time and turmoil. Here, embraced by the surrounding mountains, our venerable history means security, enduring Catholic tradition, and a lovely, tranquil resting place for you and your family to share for generations.

 
GROUP AND EDUCATIONAL TOURS

Holy Cross conducts walking tours to address the historical, architectural and spiritual aspects of the grounds. These tours are offered periodically to groups and to students. The cemetery contains many monuments of famous and accomplished contributors to our state’s rich history. It also includes significant architectural and spiritual memorials that enrich our understanding of the importance of cemeteries to our culture. our Faith and our society. If you would like to schedule a tour for your group or class, please email or call 650.756.2060.




Entrance Located at:
1500 Mission Road
Colma, CA 94014
(650) 756-2060

See Hours and Map