It is located on the outskirts of San Francisco and has been converted into a large cemetery over the years.
In Colma, a California city, life is at a premium and travelers passing through the city are greeted with a welcome sign that reads, “It’s great to be alive in Colma!”
Located in San Mateo County, about ten miles from the smoggy vortex of San Francisco, This three square kilometer strip is the only city in the United States where the dead outnumber the living,
Home to approximately 1,400 people and approximately two million corpses, the bulk of the population lives a few meters below the surface, occupying seventeen cemeteries and 73% of the city.
Colma: City of the Dead
Colma began as an agricultural community. Established in the first half of the 19th century, it was home to gold prospectors, Spanish missionaries, frontier soldiers and settlers.
They had all heard of the California Gold and were attracted to head west.But then he gave up and settled down for a more reliable job.
Many ended up in San Francisco, where the 1880s saw a massive influx of immigrants from across Europe. and America.
That overpopulation led to disease, and San Francisco was soon hit by an epidemic.
in an article published in San Francisco Newsletter and Advertiser In May 1887, one particularly restless commentator objected to being forced to live next to so many cemeteries.
“Half a million pounds of putrid are manually boxed and covered with a few feet of dirt”were writing
And he added “Scientists know that all the evils of this decomposition are hidden only in stone vaults and costly enclosures. In spite of them, the germs of disease grow and spread. They rise from the deepest graves to the surface to poison the earth and the air.”
Land was in high demand in the region, and much of it was used to bury the growing numbers of the dead.,
same year that san francisco newsletter After publishing his damning article, the city’s Catholic Archbishop Patrick Riordan bought 283 acres for funeral use.
Additionally, in an effort to prevent San Francisco from becoming one large cemetery, all graves were prohibited within the city limits.
Thus they turned the nearby city of Colma into the only place where San Francisco could be buried.
Comments flooded the city of Colma,
Colma expanded its cemeteries, but, in 1912, more bodies arrived following orders from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. All the bodies were dug up and reburied outside the city,
For thirty years, horse-drawn carriages carried thousands of relics from San Francisco to Colmaand the Catholic Cemetery of the Holy Cross, established by Archbishop Riordan, Received over 39,000 bodies,
Many of the bodies were so old that they could not be identified and were dumped in mass graves.
Others are currently buried in Colma, including baseball star and Marilyn Monroe’s husband Joe DiMaggio., Lewis Strauss, gin maker; William Randolph Hearst, America’s richest press baron.