Colma is a small town in San Mateo County, California, at the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula next to Daly City and South San Francisco. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 1,191.
Much of the land of Colma is dedicated to cemetery usage. With 17 cemeteries for the interment of human beings and one for pets, the dead population outnumber the living by tens of thousands to one. This has led to it being called "the city of the silent", and also led to a more humorous motto among some residents: "It's great to be alive in Colma". Colma became the location of a large number of cemeteries when San Francisco, the town's powerful neighbor to the north, passed an ordinance in 1900 outlawing the construction of any more cemeteries in the city (mainly because of increased property values making the cost of using land for cemeteries prohibitive), and then passed another ordinance in 1912 evicting all existing cemeteries from city limits. (A similar scenario prevails in New York City's borough of Manhattan, where only one active cemetery still exists — the Trinity Church Cemetery and Crematory, at the intersection of 155th Street and Broadway, on the northwestern edge of Harlem).
Colma was briefly called Lawndale, but because another city with the name Lawndale, California already existed, the town changed its name back to Colma in 1941.
Colma also has the unique privelge to contain the final resting place of Norton I, Emperor of the United States, and Protector of Mexico in Woodlawn Cemetery.
Web Sites and Links
Colma Buick Pontiac GMCSells Buicks, Pontiacs, and General Motors cars. Includes information on service department.
Colma Stained GlassPhotos of stained glass from some of the mausoleums in Colma cemeteries.
Cypress Lawn Memorial ParkColma cemetery offers beautiful art and grounds and a repository of California social history.
Home of Peace CemeteryBurial place run by the Congregation Emanu-El. History and directions.
Lucky Chances Casino43-table cardroom and restaurant featuring live entertainment.
Memorial Portraits in StoneFeature on local author Ron Horn's book "Forgotten Faces: A Window Into Our Immigrant Past," which focuses on memorial portraits on graves at Colma cemeteries.
Pet's Rest50 year old pet cemetery/crematory. Services and rates, virtual tour, history, and poetry about pets.
Pictures of Colma CemeteriesStock images by regional photographer Stephen Bay, focusing on details of monuments and crypts.
Serramonte Auto PlazaDealership provides information about new and used Dodge, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Nissan vehicles.
Serramonte FordNew and used vehicle dealer. Includes information on new models, used vehicle warranties, location, services and hours of operation.
Town of ColmaOfficials, history, and demographics for 1.98-square-mile municipality where 73% of the land is cemeteries.