Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Colma, California

The Greek Orthodox cemetery (1st image) is one of many burial grounds in Colma,
which is at the following coordinates on Google Earth: 37°40′44″N

The town of Colma, California (est. 1924) is a modern necropolis - a city of the dead. It has 1.5 million residents - but only 1,600 with a heartbeat. Within Colma's 2 square miles are 16 cemeteries, with Holy Cross being the oldest (1887) and largest (284 acres). It started when San Francisco, 10 miles to the north, passed an ordinance in 1900 outlawing new cemeteries within city limits, and then 12 years later passed another ordinance evicting all existing cemeteries. Funeral trains had begun running to Colma in 1893 to transport mourners and the deceased to Mt. Olivet, Holy Cross, and Woodlawn cemeteries. San Franciscans would also make regular trips on Sundays to pay their respects to the dead. Today's cemetery buffs making a pilgrimage to Colma may want to stop for some food and drink at historic Molloy's Tavern, but are encouraged to designate a driver lest their visit become permanent. “I’m more afraid of the living than I am of the dead,” says Colma City Councilwoman Joanne del Rosario of her underground constituents.

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