Established in 1907, this 125-acre burial ground was underwritten by a consortium of civic leaders, including George Marston and William Kettner, who were concerned that city-run burial grounds were falling into disrepair. Located adjacent to the earlier, larger Mount Hope Cemetery some five miles east of downtown San Diego, the cemetery contains several large mausolea, including the Cathedral Mausoleum, which opened in 1919, and the four-story, two-acre Bible Mausoleum, constructed in 1970. Smaller, private mausolea, built as the cemetery developed, dot the landscape. Opened in 2017, the densely planted Mirror Lake cremation garden surrounds the southernmost of three constructed ponds. Inlaid with memorial plaques, the garden’s stone wall descends an escarpment to a rustic bridge that spans a cascading, stone-lined stream.
Designed by George Cooke, the cemetery was intended to look and function like a picturesque park, with palm-lined paths and vast, undulating lawns interspersed with Australian willows, strawberry trees, sweet bays, and coast live oaks. In the cemetery’s southwest corner, two adjacent, circular plots called Arbor Vitae and Elks Rest contain concentric rings of graves that radiate from central monuments. Burial plots are set aside for firefighters, fraternal and military organizations, and various cultures and faiths. The cemetery hosts several chapels, a mortuary, crematory, and various statuary, including a veterans memorial and religious figures. Fourteen acres in the eastern section of the property are reserved for future development.