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U.S. Marine Hospital Cemetery
The original Marine Hospital of San Francisco was established on the Presidio in 1875. The hospital, and others like it around the country, were devoted to providing health care for maritime laborers from ports all over the world.
From 1881 until 1912, the hospital maintained a cemetery on its grounds for the burial of sailors with no family or money to transport their bodies home. By the 1930s the site was in ruins and in the 1970s it was covered by a parking lot. As the Army was preparing to depart the Presidio in 1989, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discovered this long-forgotten cemetery.
In 2006, the Presidio Archaeology Lab began research to better understand the history of the cemetery and to identify the people buried there. Records indicate that as many as 500 sailors from 30 states and 43 countries were buried at the site. Researchers also shed light on burial practices for merchant seamen, and discovered that the hospital performed its own funerary services, making redwood coffins and whitewashed wooden markers for the graves.
In 2011, a memorial stone plaque was placed at the overlook to honor those buried there. The nearby restored dune habitat provides a home for native plants like the endangered San Francisco Lessingia. The site is accessible from the Mountain Lake Trail.
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