Circus Showfolks of America Memorial
Outside San Francisco lies a small clown cemetery and memorial.
Colma, California is often known as San Francisco’s City of the Dead. Olivet Memorial Park is one of the 17 cemeteries located in Colma and within its grounds lies a clown cemetery.
Showfolks are buried all over the United States. The largest Showmen’s memorial resides in Indiana after a horrific train crash killed 86 circus performers. Colma California hosts a smaller Showfolks’ memorial. Known to the locals as “Clown Alley” the monument can be found in the back section of the Olivet Cemetery. Clown Alley features a large memorial surrounded by flat graves with the names and dates of various circus performers.
The memorial was commissioned in 1945 by the Showfolks of America after it started holding annual meetings in San Francisco. The front of the memorial features a large circus clown, dubbed the Clown of Eternal Jest. The sides and back of the memorial feature names of those who helped make the memorial possible.
One side features the quote, “That they may rest in peace among their own.” Around the memorial are flat, simple graves of various performers. The Showfolks’ monument portion of the cemetery was filled in 1990.
Every year, the Showfolks of America hold a memorial ceremony at the cemetery where flags are placed on their member’s graves.
Know Before You Go
Located in Section I of the Olivet Cemetery. Follow the road left into the cemetery then head for the back. At the large black sailor sculpture, turn left and the monument is on the left.
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