Frossanna Vallerga is the mayor of a town of ghosts...

The city of Colma lies in San Mateo County, about five miles south of San Francisco off of El Camino Real. Here lie the deceased...

Colma has been a sort of enigma of mine for a long time. Far be it from me to be obsessed with death, but the story of this city has intrigued me.

You see, Colma was founded as the sity's burial ground in 1902 after it was deemed unsanitary to bury people in San Francisco. As time wore on, more ordinances were passed to call for the removal of all tombs in the city until to this day only two cemeteries remain. Instead, people now are buried in the small town of Colma.

The story has been best told by the kind folks at Notfrisco, a group of San Francisco historians and taphophiles:

"It is illegal to operate a cemetery in the City of San Francisco."

"Concerns about the public health, crime, and the need for space forced the City and County Board of Supervisors to outlaw further burials in 1902. The larger cemeteries such as Laurel Hill and Calvary Cemetery were told to remove their interments. The fight to keep the cemeteries lasted for many years, but in 1942, the last bodies were removed from Laurel Hill Cemetery. Today, only two cemeteries remain in the City -- the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio and the Mission Dolores Cemetery. Neither accepts new interments."

"Led by Roman Catholic Archbishop Patrick Riordan, San Franciscans sought to create a new necropolis in a fault-carved valley five miles to the south. When Riordan walked out and blessed a potato field as the new site of the Catholic Cemetery in 1892, he started a movement which culminated in the establishment of the world's only incorporated city where the dead outnumber the living...."


The cemeteries of Colma:

The population of Colma at the time of the 1998 Census was only 1278(and this is a first tier suburb of one of the key cities in the modern world!).

For more info about Colma, including timelines, famous epitaths, a map of the various cemeteries, and general legends visit www.notfrisco.com/colmatales/.

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