At Rest at Cypress Lawn: Andrew Jackson Pope (1887-1878)

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. This is the man who started with partner James Talbot the greatest lumber company of the Gold Rush, which is still in business.

Pope died in 1878, 14 years before the opening of Cypress Lawn. So, how did he get here? Like many others, such as James Flood, his family decided to remove his mausoleum and remains and relocate to Cypress Lawn.

By the 1890s, the “writing was on the tombstones” for San Francisco cemeteries. It was simply a question of time before further burials would be forbidden in the city — and the unthinkable — the dead would be evicted. The first happened in 1900; the second took longer due to prolonged court battles and public elections. But during the 1930s and 1940s, some 130,000 remains from the Masonic, Oddfellows, Calvary, and Laurel Hill cemeteries were reinterred in Colma. Some 35,000 remains from Laurel Hill Cemetery were moved to Cypress Lawn and placed in Pioneer Mound on our West Campus.

Hamden Holmes Noble, the founder of the first non-sectarian Colma cemetery, convinced the Pope family to relocate from Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco to become the first mausoleum here. At the time Cypress Lawn opened in 1892, a carriage road, as well as streetcars and a rail line, ran adjacent to the large stone gate. The only major structures then were the chapel, crematorium, and small columbarium, but in late 1892, the Pope memorial became the first mausoleum and “showcase” for the new cemetery.

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Noble offered the family a prime spot with the cost of relocation free, reasoning that when the public beheld what is clearly visible from just beyond the gate — a magnificent structure with its stunning stained glass and realized who was buried there — both the rich and not-so-rich would want to spend eternity at Cypress Lawn as well.

Factoid: When Pope and Talbot stepped ashore in San Francisco on Dec. 1, 1849, they were here not to dig for gold but to “mine the miners” by supplying the insatiable demand for lumber. They brought with them personal experience in a long tradition of family involvement in the shipping and lumber industry in Maine. The new company quickly became the first major lumber dealer in the Bay Area.

Factoid: Look inside the mausoleum at the middle floor, and you will see a horseshoe. It belongs to Decidedly, who was owned by the grandson of Pope and won the 1962 Kentucky Derby.

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 Pope is laid to rest within Section 3, Lot 60 at Cypress Lawn. Click here to view an interactive map showing you where to find this grand mausoleum within our Memorial Park.