Buena Vista Park on Haight Street is one of San Francisco’s oldest public parks. Built on the side of a hill, on a clear day one can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and downtown between the trees at the top of the park.
Today you’ll find everyone from wanna-be hippie kids to dog walkers to young couples having picnics in the park.
But if you look closely you’ll also find something else: pieces of old headstones.
When San Francisco started evicting graveyards in the early 20th century to make more room for the living, many headstones were scrapped for material — recycled rock, basically.
In the 1930’s a WPA project was tasked with updating Buena Vista Park’s pathways and addressing flooding issues. Many of these new pathways were lined with gutters paved from rocks; including old headstones.
For the most part the headstones aren’t noticeable, aside from the unusual decision to pave gutters with white stone. However in a dozen or so places around the park, parts of the original engravings are easily to spot. Three of these are in the photos above.