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The Marina:
Ties to the Past

As many of you already, know the Marina District of San Francisco wasn't always as it appears today. One hundred years ago, the area was a lagoon and marshland with the shoreline much closer to the hills. In 1906, after the terrible earthquake, the Marina made the perfect spot to place tons of rubble from the devastated city. In 1915, the Marina was filled again. This time to create a large flat area for the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition.

What many of you may not realize is that the breakwater that protects the marina and the wave organ at its end were created, in part, from rubble created when some of San Francisco's oldest cemeteries were moved to Colma. As early as 1880, cries to remove the cemeteries were echoing from some public groups. By 1900, many of the city's cemeteries were full and in 1902, San Francisco passed an ordinance prohibiting most burials. In the following years the cemeteries became the havens for vandals and criminals. Citizen groups, land developers, and lawmakers renewed their efforts to remove the cemeteries. In 1921, the fist Morris Act was passed by the California State Legislature enabling local governments to remove "nuisance" cemeteries for the public good. Seizing upon this, plans to remove the last cemeteries began in 1923.

But what to do with the remains and monuments? The remains were carefully disinterred and moved to Colma cemeteries. For many years during WWII they were stored in large mausoleums awaiting reburial. However, following the war, the cost of reburial had risen so high as to make it unfeasible, so thousands were buried in mass tombs. The tombstones and mausoleums left behind were removed to make way for homes and businesses. The stone from these monuments were then cut up and dumped into the bay to create the breakwater for the boat marina you see today.

So take a walk down to the end of the marina breakwater and see what vestiges of San Francisco's past you can find. If you sit quietly on the steps of the wave organ you just may hear the voices of California's early pioneers.

MarinaImage from the marina breakwaterImage from the marina breakwaterImage from the marina breakwater

Image from the marina breakwaterThe wave organ at the end of the marina breakwater The wave organ at the end of the marina breakwater

Image from the marina breakwaterImage from the marina breakwaterImage from the marina breakwater

 
   

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