San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

San Mateo County Places

(c) Wikipedia
                              City of Souls                              
Cath Madden Trindle

The Town of Colma is the smallest city in San Mateo County.  Known worldwide as the "City Of Souls,"  it is just over 2 sq. mi in size, has just over 1,600 residents and houses more than 1.5 million souls residing in sixteen cemeteries. That's nearly 1000 bodies for every live person!

The community of Colma started as a cluster of businesses and homes along the railroad tracks and the El Camino.  In the late 1880s, with their San Francisco cemeteries reaching capacity, the Catholic and Jewish communities established cemeteries in the area.  When San Francisco banned all new cemeteries within their borders in 1900 and then demanded the removal of all burials in 1912 Colma became home for all San Francisco burials.  The number of cemeteries grew from the original three to a collection of sixteen today.

Although called Colma in early years, the Town incorporated as Lawndale in 1924. The residential and business area immediately to the north continued to be known as Colma. Because another city in Los Angeles County had the name Lawndale the post office retained the Colma designation, and the town changed its name to Colma in 1941.

Visit the Museum of the Colma Historical Association for a mini history of the town and it's living and dead residents.  Even better, plan ahead and book a tour that includes some great stories along with a visit to some of the cemeteries.  When the tour is over, stay awhile and browse through the great library collection.

It may be a small town, but Colma has it's own musical.  Colma - The Musical was nominated for a variety of awards when it came out in 2006, including the Gotham award for Best Film not in Theaters.  It won a few.  If you missed it, you can rent it from netflix or find used copies of this story of  growing up in the City of the Dead on Amazon for under $5 including shipping.


                                         History and Genealogy                              

                                         Town Information                                      

                                        Further Research                                       

Colma - A Worldcat Bookshelf
Online Archive of California - Colma
Colma - Arcadia Books
Epodunk - Colma
California Genealogy - Colma
Squiddo - Colma

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