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  The idea for Cypress Lawn was born during a carriage ride, as the last decade of the nineteenth century began. Hamden Holmes Noble, the man who would soon be credited with founding Cypress Lawn, rode with a friend one day past Laurel Hill Cemetery, midway between San Francisco's Ocean Beach to the west and the San Francisco Bay to the east. Just a few years earlier, Laurel Hill had been considered so lovely that a Pacific Coast travel guidebook recommended it as a place to visit. Like other cemeteries in the city, though, it had reached such a serious state of dilapidation and decay by the early 1890s that even the air was offensive. Noble's friend urged him to do himself and San Francisco a favor by going into the cemetery business. The same day, Noble made the decision to do so. In 1892, Cypress Lawn became a reality.

Cypress Lawn developed into a lasting institution because Hamden Noble and other early decision-makers very deliberately masterminded the park's two great strengths: remarkable physical beauty and rock-solid organizational structure to ensure that, this time, the beauty, once created, would endure. In this way they laid the groundwork for what would follow. Yet even they could not have planned or predicted what would eventually transpire, the unique drama that would unfold.

The energy that went into securing Cypress Lawn's permanence was matched by the effort to create a place of beauty. After the decision was made to establish a memorial park, Hamden Noble traveled East to research cemetery styles. The "rural" and "lawn park" cemeteries, which had begun to grace the eastern United States in the middle of the century, appealed to him. Inviting, park-like cemeteries were winning favor over older styles in which each plot was edged with its own fence or wall, cluttering the landscape and making maintenance nearly impossible. Noble helped to emulate the ambience of East Coast cemeteries such as Mount Auburn in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Allegheny in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Greenwood in Brooklyn, New York-all landmark cemeteries that still thrive today. Noble envisioned Cypress Lawn as "a calm and peaceful resting place for the dead, and an attractive and pleasing place for meditation of the living. To this end, " he determined, "we shall exert all our energies."

Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation
1370 El Camino Real
Colma, California 94014-3239
Phone #: (650) 755-0580
Fax #: (650) 994-3317

Terry Hamburg
Director of Development

Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation
Phone: (650)-201-8812

Leni D. Panopio
Director of Administration and Operations

Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation
Phone: (650)550-8863
lpanopio@cypresslawn.com


Email: info@cypresslawnheritagefoundation.com

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