Just south of Crissy Fields in San Francisco’s Presidio district is a tiny cemetery bound by a white picket fence and dotted with miniature gravestones. This is the final resting place of Presidio residents’ beloved pets.
The cemetery isn’t well documented, and there are various stories describing it’s beginnings. While some attest that it began as a burial plot for K-9 guard dogs back in World War II, others believe it was a burial ground for 19th-century cavalry horses. What the accounts do agree on is that the cemetery dates back at least to the 1950s, when military families inhabited the base.
Whatever the case, the Presidio Pet Cemetery is a testament to the love and affection of owners for their pets. Tiny tombstones of wood and stone dot the cemetery with inscriptions dedicated to the dogs, cats, birds, goldfish, hamsters, and lizards buried beneath. Tiny wooden plaques shaped like tombstones are stenciled with such sentiments as: “Skipper, the best damn dog we ever had. 1967” and “Loved, pet Stinky.”
A massive construction project started in late 2009 to overhaul the seismic nightmare that was much of the causeway area leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge. Community advocates managed to spare the cemetery from complete destruction as the Doyle Drive freeway ramp was torn down and rebuilt. It now exists as somewhat of an oasis amongst the hectic reconstruction efforts taking place all around it. Anyone planning on crossing San Francisco’s most famous landmark should take the time to swoop down and check out a place made all the more unusual by its otherwise unseemly proximity to this massive build site. You may have to peak through construction material, but the tombstones are still there in the overgrowth.
Know Before You Go
Underneath Presidio Pkwy.