Golden Gate National Cemetery

Golden Gate National Cemetery is a United States national cemetery in California, located in the city of San Bruno, 12 miles (20 km) south of San Francisco. Because of the name and location, it is frequently confused with San Francisco National Cemetery, which dates to the 19th century and is in the Presidio of San Francisco, in view of the Golden Gate. Around 1937, San Francisco residents voted to bar the opening of new cemeteries within the city proper and, as a result, the site for the new national cemetery was selected south of the city limits in adjacent San Mateo County.

Golden Gate National Cemetery
Golden Gate National Cemetery main gate.JPG
Main gate in 2008
Golden Gate National Cemetery is located in San Francisco Bay Area
Golden Gate National Cemetery
Golden Gate National Cemetery is located in California
Golden Gate National Cemetery
Golden Gate National Cemetery is located in the United States
Golden Gate National Cemetery
1300 Sneath Lane
San Bruno, California
CountryUnited States
Coordinates37°38′07″N 122°25′52″W / 37.63528°N 122.43111°W / 37.63528; -122.43111Coordinates: 37°38′07″N 122°25′52″W / 37.63528°N 122.43111°W / 37.63528; -122.43111[1]
TypeUnited States National Cemetery
Size161.5 acres (0.654 km2)
No. of graves145,000
WebsiteUS Dept of Veterans Affairs Golden Gate National Cemetery
Find a GraveGolden Gate National Cemetery
A view out from the center of the cemetery
Aerial photograph of Golden Gate National Cemetery


Congress authorized construction of the facility in 1937, with the first interments in 1941. The cemetery was officially dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1942. California Attorney General Earl Warren (later Governor, then Chief Justice of the United States) was keynote speaker at the ceremony. Golden Gate is one of a large number of U.S. Army-planned cemeteries started in the 1930s and completed during the 1940s. They were designed specifically to provide abundant burial opportunities in locations around the nation in cities with very large veteran populations.

As of 2005, the cemetery held 137,435 interments. Over the years, several attempts to expand Golden Gate National Cemetery were met with resistance from local residents, so it has remained at its original 161.5 acres (0.654 km2) since 1941.

Several service members who are buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery were interned in the stables at the nearby Tanforan Racetrack during the early part of the Japanese American internment.

Also notable is that the Golden Gate National Cemetery was the first cemetery to initiate the large flag display on Memorial Day. Flags are raised around the base of the hill in the center of the cemetery and small flags are placed on each grave site by various scout volunteers. This practice was created and put into effect by John T. Spelman, the superintendent of the cemetery at the time.

The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.[2]

Monuments and memorialsEdit

The American Veterans donated a Schulmerich carillon to the cemetery as part of their worldwide living memorial carillon program. The carillon was dedicated May 30, 1958.

Notable burialsEdit

Medal of Honor RecipientsEdit

(Dates are of the actions for which they were awarded the Medal of Honor.)

Headstone of John Dahlgren

Other burialsEdit

Nimitz's headstone



  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Golden Gate National Cemetery
  2. ^ "Weekly list of actions, 3/7/16 through 3/11/16". National Park Service. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  3. ^ Cafe Rise Above. "Edward Lucien Toppins".
  4. ^ "Newporters Work To Be On View". Newport Mercury. August 7, 1931. p. 5. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  5. ^ [1] CWGC Cemetery Report. Breakdown obtained from casualty record.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit