The Presidio Pet Cemetery, located at McDowell Ave. and Crissy Field Ave, in San Francisco. The Cemetery is currently closed until late 2011, when construction on the Presidio Parkway is completed. - Photo: Mat Luschek
Buried beneath construction equipment, behind some buildings, at the corner of McDowell Avenue and Crissy Field Avenue, fenced in, and a bit overgrown, is the Presidio Pet Cemetery.
The cemetery dates back to the 1950's when the Presidio was home to approximately 2,000 army families. There are no official records for the spot, but some credit authorization of the cemetery to Lt. General Joseph M. Swing, who as the commander of the Presidio at the time.
Buried here are the remains of hundreds of animals owned by military families stationed at the Presidio. Legend has it, this was once a burial ground for nineteenth-century cavalry horses or World War II guard dogs.
In the 1970's the cemetery fell in disrepair. The story goes, that an anonymous former Navy man became the unofficial caretaker in those years, who repaired the headstones, and repainted the fence.
The headstones resemble those found in a military cemetery. Some animals have last names, ranks, and listed birthplaces, such as China, England, Australia and Germany. As in military cemeteries, there are also those resting places of the "unknown."
The cemetery is currently closed to the public, while the overhead Presidio Parkway is under construction. The grave yard, however, is being protected during this construction, and has a chain-link fence surrounding it. The area appears to have been left unattended for some time, but the overgrowth is beautiful in a way. Many brightly colored flowers and plants have taken over the 450-square foot park.
Stewardship of the grounds is now being handled by the Swords to Plowshares Veterans Academy. Swords to Plowshares could not be reached to determine when the cemetery might be reopened, however a sign at the gate, says "late 2011."
The Cemetery is no longer accepting new residents.