|History of Colma|
A California State Law was passed in the late 1800's, State Penal Code 297 stated - prohibited any burials anywhere except an established cemetery such as one by a city or county, church, ethnic group or military. You could no longer bury a body on the homestead or along the wagon trail.
San Francisco had many cemeteries established by the time gold was discovered. Hundreds of thousands arrived bringing diseases, followed by deaths and filled their cemeteries to capacity.
Cemetery owners started looking for new locations to expand or relocate their burial grounds. They were frustrated in their attempt to buy San Francisco property. Land was too valuable for cemetery use said real estate promoters.
The San Francisco City Fathers passed Bill #54 & Ordinance #25 on 3-26-1900 stating that no further burials will be allowed in the City & County of San Francisco. With no further burials, they became a place of neglect and vandalism. They then became a health hazard.
Colma became the chosen area for cemeteries. A number of reasons:
After the 1912 Eviction notice.
In August of 1912 the San Francisco's Board of Supervisors declared intent to evict all cemeteries in their jurisdiction.
On Jan. 14, 1914 Removal notices were sent to all cemeteries, branding them as " A public nuisance and a menace and detriment to the health and welfare of city dwellers.' Ordinance 2597
There were many delays to this order as the cemeteries and some citizens fought to have it revoked. By Nov. of 1937 the legal battles were over and bodies not removed were now ordered to be removed.
Colma Cemeteries now inherited hundreds of thousands of additional bodies.
This all led to the incorporation of the cemetery area that became known as Lawndale on August 5, 1924 . The Associated Cemeteries, made up of supervisors from each were concerned that what happened in S.F. could happen again. To protect the cemeteries they became organized and incorporated. They wanted the name Memorial Park but there was already a Memorial Park in our county. We kept Lawndale until the United States Postal Service informed us there was a Lawndale in Southern Calif. We went back to the name of Colma. This was on Nov. 17, 1941.
The First officers were: