Resting at Cypress Lawn: The Genius Who Conquered San Francisco’s Hills

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  Called “Hallidie’s Folly,” Andrew Hallidie certainly had the last laugh…all the way up the hill and to the bank. San Francisco is built on a terrain of steep hills. In its early days the only way for people and materials to conquer those inclines was by horse. This kept many prominent locations sparsely inhabited […]

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The First Mausoleum at Cypress Lawn

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  Perched on a mound a few hundred feet from the Granite Gate that graces the entrance and stands as a symbol of the separation of the outside world from the Cypress Lawn sanctuary, sits the grand mausoleum of Andrew Jackson Pope, the man who started with partner James Talbot, the greatest lumber company of […]

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The Great Earthquake Coverup

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“Everything you knew about the 1906 earthquake was a lie or an inaccuracy. If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.”  ~ James Dalessandro, San Francisco historian

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The Slot Machine King of Cypress Lawn

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  There are many people buried at Cypress Lawn who changed the world. Not the least is Charles Fey, who invented the slot machine. As a young man, he worked in France and London before emigrating at age twenty-three to New Jersey. Charles settled in San Francisco and started a company that produced and repaired  […]

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The Story of Laurel Hill “Pioneer” Mound

It was not by chance that when Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco was ordered in 1937 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to remove all its burials and abandon the Cemetery, the Board of Directors petitioned Cypress Lawn to accept the remains. Both institutions were cut from the same historic garden cemetery cloth. […]

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The Headless Man of Cypress Lawn

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His body is here. His head (skull) sits at the Warren Anatomical Museum in Boston. Phineas Gage is perhaps the most famous neurological patient in modern history, one of the “great medical curiosities of all time” and a “living part of medical folklore.” Gage and his constant companion, the inscribed tamping iron sometime after 1849, seen in […]

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The Most Potent Cocktail at Cypress Lawn

  Widely served during the Gold Rush years and long thereafter, Pisco Punch was so potent that one writer of the day remarked that “it tastes like lemonade but comes back with the kick of a roped steer.” Others said “it makes a gnat fight an elephant.” Pisco is a late 16th century brandy made from Peruvian grapes […]

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Unexpected Monuments: The Curious, The Offbeat, and The Daring

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  Over the years cemetery memorials across the U.S. have become more standardized. This is due in part to changing tastes, in part to cemetery regulations. Cypress Lawn has evolved with  this trend, but on the East Campus and sections of the West Campus, there is an incredible variety of unusual and imaginative monuments. Most […]

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Play Ball! at Cypress Lawn

We have at rest in our Memorial Park three important baseball personalities: one of the best players of all time, one of the most colorful managers, and the man who introduced the game to Japan. And, as we shall see, these gentlemen are all curiously connected. A legendary player, Lefty O’Doul, is a San Franciscan native […]

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Cypress Lawn Trivia: Match The Product With The Person

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  Some of the most important mausoleums and memorials at Cypress Lawn are built on the commercial fortunes of certain products. Can you connect the merchandise with the merchant?               Hugh McCrum / Gustave Niebaun / Claus Spreckels / Andrew Jackson Pope / William Fuller / Gertrude Atherton /  Raymond […]

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