When I first moved to San Francisco, I lived virtually across the street from Mission Dolores Church. Did I ever go there? Nope. So I never knew there was actually a cemetery behind it. A very cool one, as it turns out.
The full and true name of Mission Dolores is “Misión San Francisco de Asis” and it’s beautiful. The original church was built in 1791 with adobe walls that are four feet thick! A good thing, too, because it survived the 1906 earthquake. The Basilica wasn’t so fortunate.
There’s a beautiful statue in the middle-ish of the cemetery of Father Junipero Serra and it gives it the feeling of being a very beautiful, very serene place to spend time. It was larger at one point, but was consolidated to its current size. It also contains an indigenous Ohlone hut.
A lot of the folks buried there now are from the Gold Rush, when illness and disease were rampant. Some of the names you’ll recognize from the streets that are their namesakes when driving around the city. The earlier graves were unidentifiable because the markers were wooden and had deteriorated completely so they were reverently buried in a common grave.
If you get the opportunity to visit Mission Dolores, take the opportunity to visit the cemetery. It’s beautiful.