Santa Cruz Ave. & Avy Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1577, Colma, CA 94014-0577
By appointment only
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Established in 1872, the Church of the Nativity of Our Lord located on Oak Grove Avenue near Middlefield Road acquired the town cemetery in 1883 and named it Holy Cross Cemetery. The surrounding communities had utilized the cemetery since the late 1860’s.
Archbishop William Patrick Riordan journeyed to Menlo Park that same year to consecrate the burial grounds in this churchyard cemetery. Holy Cross of Menlo Park was fully established and serving Roman Catholic families four years prior to the first burial at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma.
The initial layout and landscaping of Holy Cross was undertaken by world-renowned landscaper, Michael Lynch. His local projects included many of the grand residences of that era along with large portions of Stanford University.
In 1953, officials with Stanford University required the relocation of burials at the site of the first St. Denis Catholic Church to make way for the development of the linear accelerator. Many of these reinterments occurred at Holy Cross Cemetery on Santa Cruz Avenue. A historical marker that tells this story can be seen upon entering the cemetery by way of the main gate.
At the present time the cemetery continues to serve Catholic families in the southern portion of San Mateo County. Recent years have seen as many as 100 burials per year and the current interment register includes in excess of 5400 names. Many of these family names tell the story of the early years on this part of the Peninsula.
Notable Figures Buried at Holy Cross Menlo Park
John T. Doyle, Elena Atherton Selby, Michael Lynch, Matthew Crowe, John Murray, Giovanni Beltramo, Frank and Mary Roach, William and Margaret Warren, as well as countless other individuals who rest at Holy Cross, helped create a solid foundation for the vibrant and creative community which exists today.
- John T. Dolye (1819-1906), a San Francisco attorney, established his family estate in Menlo Park in 1868 naming it Ringwood. At the bequest of Archbishop Alemany, John Doyle successfully prevailed against the Mexican government in the International Court of The Hague. His efforts resulted in payment of several million dollars from the government of Mexico to the Roman Catholic Church of California.
- Elena Atherton Selby (1901-1918), daughter of Faxon D. Atherton married Percy Selby the son of industrialist Thomas H. Selby, the 13th Mayor of the City of San Francisco, Her short life included the leisurely, pastoral life of Atherton and the royal grandeur that was post Gold Rush San Francisco.
- Michael Lynch (1847-1918), the horticultural wonder of Menlo Park, assisted with the original layout and landscaping of Holy Cross Cemetery, along with that of St. Patrick’s Seminary, significant projects within Stanford University and many private estates including the regal Linden Towers of James C. Flood.
- Giovanni Beltramo (1860-1948), arriving in Menlo Park in 1890, John Beltramo established a retail liquor outlet that the family continues to operate today. His initial employment as an Italian immigrant was in the Cupertino vineyards of Attorney John Doyle beginning in 1882. Wine and whiskey were produced at this Menlo Park facility until Prohibition’s arrival. With repeal the family began operations again and expanded to satisfy the demand of Stanford University students and the surrounding towns.
- Pierre (1927) and Marie Larrecou (1956), arrived on the peninsula in 1893 and soon established the first full service French laundry. Prior to the arrival area families commonly sent their precious fabrics, by railroad, to San Francisco to insure proper care and handling. The Larrecou’s served an upscale clientele including Leland and Jane Stanford who entrusted them with laundering their most prized linens. The Stanford’s often entertained important dignitaries at the University including the president William McKinley.
- William Phillip McEvoy (1861-1897) was elected Sheriff of San Mateo County in 1892, 5 years later in 1897 at the height of his popularity. Sheriff McEvoy was killed in the line of duty and remains the only San Mateo County Sheriff to carry this dubious distinction. Two days after being shot while apprehending Thomas Flannelly for the admitted murder of his father, Patrick Flannelly, Sheriff McEvoy succumbed to blood poisoning with the resultant death not uncommon for that time. Only 36 years old at the time of his death, his funeral included some 220 horse drawn carriages, by far the largest cortege in the early years of San Mateo County. On June 29, 1900, Thomas Flannelly was executed by hanging at San Quentin Prison. The Flannelly Family Plot is just a short walk from that of the McEvoy family, but the grave of Thomas is not to be found at Holy Cross in Menlo Park.