The San Francisco Columbarium
The San Francisco Columbarium stands as witness to decades of lives celebrated in an elegant architectural landmark, located in The Richmond District in San Francisco, California. The Columbarium, once a part of the Odd Fellows Cemetery designed in 1898 by Bernard J.S. Cahill, underwent a historical transition when the Neptune Society acquired it in 1980. It now offers more than 8,000 inurnment spaces which house urns and memorabilia in three various niche facilities: Hall of Olympians, Hall of Titans, and Hall of Heroes.
In 1895, The Columbarium was designed to complement a crematorium. Cremation and cemetery burials were then banned by the City of San Francisco in 1902-1910, leading to the closures of all cemeteries in the area. Families were forced to transfer their beloved's remains elsewhere. In the Richmond District, only The Columbarium remained. Due to the city's restrictions, none of the previous organizations had given it proper care, and it deteriorated. In 1980, the Neptune Society of Northern California took stewardship and restored The Columbarium to its original shape. Its resident caretaker, Emmit Watson, helped in the extensive clean-up and renovation. Now he ushers visitors into its gleaming hallways and shares memorable stories of those who have chosen The Columbarium as a final resting place.
The Columbarium features a large rotunda, mosaic tile floors, and stained glass windows inspired by baroque and Greco-Roman architectural style. A visit to The Columbarium, with rooms named after mythological winds and constellations, is like watching history unfold before your eyes – each person's life story told and memorialized in every special niche.
Why It's Worth Visiting
The Columbarium is open to visitors seven days a week. Unbeknownst to many, it's one of the most interesting off the beaten path attractions in San Francisco. It's also conveniently located near the San Francisco National Cemetery and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Visiting the the San Francisco Columbarium is like entering a different realm: quiet and peaceful amid the distraction of the city. Situated within the Richmond residential district, it's tucked away in a beautiful gated property away from all the noise. Visitors who walk along the elegant rooms and floors of the Columbarium find more than just a repository for the remains of those who have passed – here is where their memories are showcased and honored.
The Columbarium is a natural magnet for architectural enthusiasts. With its Neo-Classical design, a colossal atrium surrounded by lustrous balconies and four stories housing thousands of niches, it is truly a perfect choice as a final resting place for our loved ones. It is in fact, home to many of San Francisco's elite and famous celebrities as well as their family members who have passed.
To learn more about the San Francisco Columbarium, please call (415) 221-1838 or visit the site during the following hours:
Open to the Public
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tuesday, December 24 - Closed at 3 p.m.
Tuesday, December 31 - Closed at 3 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day
The San Francisco Columbarium is located at One Loraine Court, San Francisco, CA 94118.
If you would like to learn more about the prestigious Columbarium and how to secure a niche for your beloved, please contact us today by filling out the form on this page.
Photos provided by P. Lloyd Paul Photography.