926 Miramontes Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1577, Colma, CA 94014-0577
By appointment only
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Our Lady of the Pillar Cemetery replaced Pilarcitos Cemetery as the Catholic Cemetery for the area. The first burial in Our Lady of the Pillar Cemetery occurred in 1921. The title Our Lady of the Pillar refers to the shrine Nuestra Señora del Pillar erected by St. James in Zaragoza, Spain, the oldest of the Marian shrines. Sunset Magazine included Our Lady of the Pillar Cemetery in its list of “Five Great Cemeteries Worth Exploring in Northern California.”
In 1820, Pilarcitos Cemetery was established as the Catholic cemetery for the coastal settlers and Indians. The Mexican Government (ruling CA 1822-1848) granted José Tiburcio Vasquez a rancho alongside Pilarcitos Creek in present-day Half Moon Bay, which included land used as the Pilarcitos cemetery. The rancho grew in population during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) as family members left San Francisco for the presumed safety of the coast. Archbishop Alemany appointed the first priest to “Spanishtown” (Fr. Antoine Langlois) in 1868, following the construction of a church building on land donated by the Vasquez family. The original church was destroyed by fire in 1875. Originally, the Vasquez family had intended for their family burials to take place below the floor of the church; following the fire, they began to use the land for cemetery plots. The pastor at the time, Fr. John Valentini, eventually purchased the land from the Vasquez family for use once again as a Catholic Cemetery of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.