Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Colma in San Mateo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Colma Historical Museum

Circa 1910

 
 
Colma Historical Museum Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
1. Colma Historical Museum Marker
Inscription. This building memorializes the contributions of the Abbey Land and Improvement Company to the development of Colma. The company established Mount Olivet Memorial Park, the sixth cemetery to be built in Colma, and constructed a streetcar line along the Mt. Olivet Parkway from the main electric railway at El Camino Real to their office and cemetery on Hillside Boulevard. The mission revival style office was designed by the corporation’s vice president, San Francisco architect William H. Crim. The square tower at the southeast corner of the building marked the entry to the Mount Olivet Cemetery office and the arcade served as the boarding area for the electric railway. The bell in the courtyard once hung in the building tower. Cypress Abbey Company donated the building to the town.
 
Location. 37° 40.944′ N, 122° 27.385′ W. Marker is in Colma, California, in San Mateo County. Marker can be reached from Hillside Boulevard near F Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1500 Hillside Boulevard, Daly City CA 94014, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mount Olivet Cemetery Office and Streetcar Line (here, next to this marker); Railroad Semaphore Signal (a
Colma Historical Museum image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
2. Colma Historical Museum
This marker is the smaller one on the right of the entrance. The "Mount Olivet Cemetery Office and Streetcar Line" marker is the larger one on the left.
few steps from this marker); Old Colma Railroad Station (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Old Colma Railroad Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Colma City Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); Joe Cavalli – Historical Site (approx. 0.9 miles away); Molloy’s Springs (approx. 0.9 miles away); Where Daly City Started (approx. 1.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Colma.
 
More about this marker. Marker is mounted on the left archway at the entrance to the museum.
 
Also see . . .
1. History of the Town of Colma. (Submitted on April 27, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.)
2. The Colma History Museum. (Submitted on April 27, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.)
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial Sites
 
Colma Historical Museum image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
3. Colma Historical Museum
The tower on the left of the photo is the entrance mentioned in marker text, the entrance to the museum is the area described as the boarding area for the electric railway, and the bell is on the ground between the two towers.
Cemetery Worker's Bell image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
4. Cemetery Worker's Bell
See Photo #5
Cemetery Worker's Bell Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
5. Cemetery Worker's Bell Plaque
Cemetery Worker's Bell
This bell used to hang in the tower of what is now the museum building. It was rung to signal workers of an approaching funeral. Upon hearing the bell the workers would change into their uniforms and participate in the handling of the burial service. Almost all of the cemeteries had such a bell.
Mystery Tombstone image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
6. Mystery Tombstone
See Photo #7
Mystery Tombstone image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
7. Mystery Tombstone
This tombstone, one of the oldest found in Colma, marked the gravesite of H.J. Hartnagle, who died in 1875. The tombstone was originally located at Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Francisco. It was discovered in 2001 near Holy Cross Cemetery along the old Southern Pacific right-of-way during tunnel excavation associated with the San Francisco Airport BART extension. In the 1930’s, when courts decreed that all bodies in existing San Francisco cemeteries be removed, Hartnagle’s remains were transferred to a mass gravesite at Odd Fellows (Greenlawn) Cemetery in Colma. During the transfer, the tombstone was somehow separated from the body. It may have accidentally fallen from a railroad car or may have been discarded as many tombstones were when San Francisco’s cemeteries were evicted. Individual tombstones are prohibited at the mass gravesite.

It may never be known how the tombstone was separated from Hartnagel.
Traveling Undertakers Table image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
8. Traveling Undertakers Table
On display in museum.
When an undertaker had to travel from one town to another, he took with him all the tools of the trade. One of which was a table to lay the corpse on to prepare for embalming, autopsy, or for preparation for viewing.
Early 20th Century Kitchen on Display image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
9. Early 20th Century Kitchen on Display
The Blacksmith Shop image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
10. The Blacksmith Shop
See Photo #11
Blacksmith Shop image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, April 24, 2009
11. Blacksmith Shop
The essential features of a blacksmith shop include forge, bellows, anvil, quenching tub, metal-forming tools and a workbench with a vise. Tools that a blacksmith would have required are hammers to shape the metal without heat; chisels and cleavers for cutting; punches and hand drills to make different types of holes; soldering irons to unite two pieces of metal without heating the whole metal; and files to smooth the edges. Different types of simple tongs would be used to hold the hot metal as kit was worked. The blacksmith was frequently the local jack-of-all-trades working with metal fittings and equipment pertaining to trains, farming, gun making, and in later years, automobiles. Blacksmiths could also be skilled in woodworking and were frequently the wagon makers in their community. Here in Colma each monument company had its own blacksmith shop. The making of chisels and keeping them sharp was a never-ending job related to carving the lettering on monument.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 2,086 times since then and 124 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   10, 11. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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