Mount Davidson Cross – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura
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San Francisco, California

Mount Davidson Cross

Sitting atop San Francisco's tallest hill, a cross honors the victims of the Armenian genocide.  

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Towering above the trees on the highest hill in San Francisco is the massive 103-foot tall Mount Davidson Cross. Four crosses previously stood in the same location, the first being a 40-foot cross erected in 1923.

Over the years more were built, but the wooden crosses barely survived a single year. One was even burned down by arsonists. In 1934, the decision was made to make the next cross of concrete, and it has stood atop the hill ever since. The cross even received a special introduction, as it was lit the entire week before Easter. President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a special telegraph key in Washington D.C. to light up the cross for the spectators during its induction. 

The highly visible cross has garnered much attention over the years, including making a cameo in the film, Dirty Harry. In 1991, a lawsuit was filed against the city of San Francisco because it owned a prominent religious symbol on public land. The decision was made to sell the cross. It was purchased by the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California (CAAONC) and rededicated as an Armenian Genocide Memorial. A plaque was installed honoring the victims and the cross is now lit once a year on April 24th and during Easter.

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