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The Columbarium

Columbarium1Taking a break from what seems like incessant recipe documentation, I schlepped out to BevMo while DPaul was getting his teeth cleaned. I’d not been to the one on Geary at Stanyan before. As I pulled out from the underground parking lot, I was faced with a glorious green dome rising over the horizon. How could I resist the opportunity to stop into the Columbarium?

I’d never been to the Columbarium before, and it has always been on my list of things to do in the city. I have a thing for cemeteries generally, and this one is exceptional. San Francisco has but two cemeteries where people are buried in the ground; The Columbarium is where you put your ashes to rest.

Built in 1897, it was the centerpiece of a large cemetery. However, in 1901 interment became illegal within the city limits of San Francisco, and in the 1930s all burial plots (except the cemeteries in the Presidio and Mission Dolores) were moved to Colma.

The beautiful Victorian structure has niches on four levels, surrounding a central portico under the copper dome. It’s remarkable to see how people are commemorated — some of the niches are austere and somber; some are elaborate; others are filled with whimsical items from the person’s life. I was pleased to see a number of niches with rainbow flags, others with same-sex partners that have chosen to share the tight quarters. All in all, not a bad place to spend eternity. More crappy cell phone pics after the jump.

Neptune Society of Northern California
The Columbarium: Final Shelter [San Francisco Reader]

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