San Francisco History

Odd Fellow's Cemetery

Dates of Existence: 1854 to 1923
Location: approximately 27 acres between Geary and Turk streets, Parker Avenue and Arguello Boulevard
Number interred: 26,000?
Moved to: Greenlawn Cemetery
Notes: was originally a subdivision of the Lone Mountain Cemetery
"Squatting on Cemetery Grounds. The climax of all outrages have been attained in the forcible seizure by the squatters of the Odd Fellows Cemetery Grounds. The cemetery was legally deeded by S[amuel] Brannan to the first Lodge established in the city more than two years ago, for the perpetual use of the Order, and has been in their possession since that time until the squatters seized it. They declare their intention of holding it at all hazards. In the mean time, the Order of Odd Fellows are taking steps to oust the sacrilegious wretches from the sacred resting place of the dead. If an argument had been wanting to show the depths to which perverted human nature can sink, it would have been furnished in this desecration of hallowed ground. It is bad enough for private property to be forcibly taken and held by armed bands of lawless desperadoes; but when even the hallowed spots dedicatd to the burial of the dead are this outraged, patience ceases to be a virtue, and the public action is called for."

Source: Daily Alta California, 22 July 1853.

WILL DEED TO THE CITY.  Plan for Perpetuating the Odd Fellow's Cemetery.  George T. Baker, president of the board of directors of the Odd Fellow's Cemetery Association, is agitating a proposition to deed the cemetery to the State or city authorities, to be maintained forever as a public park.  It is part of the plan to give $100,000 with the deed of gift, the interest on this sum to be used in keeping the cemetery in good condition.

The plat of land now used as a burying ground was purchased by the association in 1865, and was paid by an issue of bonds taken up by the different lodges of Odd Fellows throughout the city.  These bonds have been redeemed long since, and the property consequently belongs to the association.  As each individual plat-owner has an absolute right to the property he purchased, the association has not the power to divert the land from its present purpose, and it therefore must remain as the city may see fit to condemn it.  It is for the purpose of preventing this latter alternative and to secure for the plat-owners a perpetuation of their rights that the association is making the present move.  It is estimated that two years will be required to dispose of the burial plats yet unsold, and nothing definite will be done until this has been acomplished.

As the association exists under the rural cemetery act, a special act of the Legislature will probably be necessary to insure the perpetuation of the burying ground as proposed."

Source: San Francisco Morning Call, 6 October 1893.

"A Neglected Graveyard. Seven-year-old Willie Elsie of 2722 Golden Gate avenue was playing Klondike yesterday with some little fellows of his own age at the junction of Golden Gate avenue and Stanyan street, and in digging for gold unearthed some human bones and fragments of a coffin. Pieces of the shroud and a pair of boots were also found. The gruesome relics were taken to the Morgue, but neither inquest nor autopsy will be held. The site on which the bones were found was a cemetery many years ago and when the bodies were exhumed some were forgotten."

Source: San Francisco Morning Call, 15 August 1899.


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