04/15/06 - posted by John Martini
Back in the mid-1990s, when the Palace of the Legion of Honor was undergoing its major overhaul, workers stumbled upon hundreds of unmarked graves adjacent to the museum building -- in some cases right in the center of the courtyard. These folks had been been buried there during the 19th century when Lincoln Park was still the City Cemetery, and had been (ahem) "overlooked" when the the dead were supposedly moved to Colma before the present golf course was built.

To me this is one of the great, lost stories of the City and I'd love to know more but there's not much on the web. A Google search yielded a reprint of a 1993 LA Times article on these graves at http://www.sanfranciscocemeteries.com/article1lgn.html

I vaguely remember a photo exhibit documenting the gravesites called (I believe) "The Dead of the Legion of Honor" that came out shortly after the discovery. Some of the wonderfully macabre images were printed in the Chron or Examiner, but the exhibit itself disappeared quickly.

The whole affair reminds me of that great line from the movie Poltergeist: "You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn't you?"

Does anyone else remember the photo exhibit and what became of it?

Not surprising, the bookstore at the Legion of Honor doesn't have anything on the gravsites and they get a little touchy when you bring up the topic...

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