Tag Archives: Old City Cemetery

Death’s Garden: Night of the Reaper


Woman grieving beneath a willow tree. Sacramento Old City Cemetery photograph by Loren Rhoads.

by Christopher R. Bales

The meeting room was small, crowded, and smelled like old books. Tall shelves crammed with dusty records and yellowed pamphlets surrounded the large wooden table. Old maps, posters, even a genuine turn-of-the-century embalming certificate decorated the confines. Curiously, the brick-walled room lacked windows. A few questions revealed that this place had once been a storage area for bodies awaiting burial: the perfect atmosphere for the task at hand.

This was the meeting place for hopeful participants in the “Old City Cemetery Moonlight Tour.” The event would consist of a number of graveside performances. In makeshift period costumes, with modest sound and lighting equipment, performers would reenact the lives, deaths, and mysterious occurrences of the more colorful residents buried at the historic Sacramento cemetery.

The tour coordinator sat behind his desk with a handful of notes. Stroking his silver mustache and gesturing with his long arms in true thespian fashion, he recounted graveyard tales in a distinctive baritone. The roles available for the moonlight performance were offered in a first-hand‑up‑it’s‑yours basis. As with most volunteer affairs, the turnout was small. I was only interested in one part — the chance of a lifetime — and was delighted to find the role of the Grim Reaper mine for the taking. How many opportunities does one have to play Death in a moonlit graveyard?

Armed with a small flashlight, the coordinator traversed the cemetery with long, confident strides. I followed as best I could, trying not to trip over my own feet or the gravestones of unsuspecting strangers. The flashlight’s dancing beam lit on particular tombstones as the coordinator explained my role as the Specter of Death, plot by plot. When the audience gathered in front of a grave, the narrator would take his place center stage. On his signal, I would enter from a nearby hiding place and pass an enigmatic hand across the audience. My pointed finger would end at the gravestone that was the subject of the performance at hand. After my exit, the actors would come out to start the scene. I would move to the next site and repeat the formality. The Reaper would appear only at six locations. With no lines to learn and nothing but dramatic entrances and exits, I felt confident I could survive the night.

With the spirit of Halloween in the air, I was eager for the night of the show.


Woman grieving beneath a willow tree. Sacramento Old City Cemetery photograph by Loren Rhoads.

October 26th, 1996, 5:00 p.m.

I had about an hour to prepare for the performance. The slow transformation into the Grim Reaper was strangely hypnotic. I slicked my hair tightly against my scalp. In progressive layers of gray and black face paint, I sculpted my features. My eyes became dead, black sockets. My jaw became sunken and gaunt. My brow and cheekbones pushed forward as the skull crept out from beneath my skin. Calm power entered me. I became something else. With effort, I pulled a thick black robe over my head. I adjusted the cowl and let the long sleeves slide to my wrists. Turning out the light, I opened the door a crack. The chiaroscuro effect of the light filtering into the room made my death mask seem to smolder in the soft shadows. I clutched my tall scythe and passed a hand across my reflection in the mirror.

The ride to the cemetery was surreal, a testimonial the desensitization of today’s society. No one noticed the Reaper of Death riding down the highway in a compact pickup.

A crowd was already forming at the entrance to the graveyard. I parked in a small lot across the way, took a moment to get into character, then crossed the street. I advanced through the iron gate and entered the grounds. It took a while for the spectators notice Death moving in behind them. Soon double takes and whispers had the group slowly parting, with apologetic gestures of fear, respect, or mild amusement.

One of the volunteers handed me an antique lamp. Its flickering candlelight tied off the Reaper ensemble. I quickly took my position at the first site.

After what seemed like hours spent crouching behind a bush, I saw the audience encircle the plot. Flashlights from the costumed ushers corralled them. The narrator, appropriately dressed in an old-fashioned black tie and jacket, took his place behind the podium. I emerged slowly. Somehow I’d developed a lumbering, slow-motion walk, as if my bones had become ancient. I held my lamp before me, casting the light over the assemblage as if scouting future prospects. Bright light surprised me as the ushers trained their flashlights on my face. I stopped in front of the tombstone and passed a searching finger across the crowd, making brief eye contact with those who dared to meet my gaze. More lights, this time flash photography, hit me just as my finger stopped at the face of the headstone.

I turned away slowly, grabbed my sickle from the tree where it rested, and hobbled out of the scene as the actors made their entrance.

I stayed in character as I made my way to the next plot, since the audience could see me in the distance. This was the most inspirational moment of the evening for me: moving alone through the moonlit cemetery, the sound of the performers disappearing behind me. The cold wind rustled my black robe as I strolled through the weather-etched grave markers. Using the dim light of my lantern, I stopped now and then to read a faded inscription. I felt calm and reverent, as if visiting those I’d met before (although our first encounter might have been under less than desirable circumstances). Now they knew the peace only I had the power to give them. This was fun, although a little disturbing. I’m not sure I liked that the role of Death came so naturally to me.

The last stop on the tour was one of the most impressive plots in the Old City Cemetery. It was a large mausoleum, resting place of a mother and son. Through small panels of glass, the two caskets could be viewed.

As I moved behind the crypt to my hiding place, I was startled by a hooded figure. She was cloaked in black velvet. Her gloved hands cupped a perfect red rose. Head bowed, she whispered to herself as if in prayer — one of the performers meditating over her lines, I thought. She was playing the mother buried in the mausoleum. The son died first and, apparently, his mother was obsessed with visiting the gravesite. When she died, she was laid to rest in the same mausoleum.

I chose not to disturb the actress. I set my lantern at my feet, leaned against my scythe, and waited for the narrator’s signal.

I made my usual enigmatic entrance and exit, then moved down the short stairs of the mausoleum. It was the final performance and I felt a certain amount of relief. As I passed the outskirts of the spectators lining the walkway, I heard my only heckling of the evening. It was a rather rude sound, a feeble, unimaginative attempt to break my stone‑faced character. I stopped in my tracks and tightened my grip on the scythe. I wanted to slowly turn, searching out the insolent mortal with my cold dead eyes, to offer him a premature ride to the black abyss. Only a fool would belittle the personification of Death on His own hallowed ground.

But the performers had begun to recite their lines. So as not to interfere with the proceedings, I moved on, deciding to leave it as a moment of whimsy. Maybe next year’s performance will allow me to reap my revenge.

This piece originally appeared in Morbid Curiosity #2. Learn more about the Old City Cemetery here.



Christopher R. Bales is an artist, author, and occasional Death impersonator.  Please check out his work at www.christopherbales.com.

From his about page: “It seems cheap to pigeonhole assemblage artist Christopher Bales’s work as merely steampunk: His aesthetic is older than that. Although he sometimes uses antique and vintage materials associated with the genre, such as metal cogs, the final product often looks more like an altar constructed from the rubble of a pre-Victorian cathedral.

“Bales, who has been assembling these intricate sculptures since 1989, said he sources “an enormous amount of objects”—like broken wooden boxes, dolls, clocks, picture frames, figurines—from his weekly visits to flea markets and thrift stores.”


Death's Garden001About the Death’s Garden project:

For the next couple months, I’m planning to put a cemetery essay up every Friday. If there is a cemetery that has touched your life, I would love to hear from you, particularly if there is one you visited on vacation — or if you got married in one. The submissions guidelines are here.

Death’s Garden: Dancing on May’s Grave


May Woolsey’s gravestone, Old City Cemetery, Sacramento, California

by M. Parfitt

“You have the same hair as May Woolsey.” That comment from the volunteer coordinator at the Discovery Museum was my introduction to the twelve‑year‑old girl who would virtually take over my life during the Fall of 1996.

I was an occasional volunteer for the museum. When I originally volunteered, I offered myself as an artist. Occasionally they gave me interesting sign-making projects, and once they let me set up a small display, but to my disappointment, they just loved my speed and accuracy at the cash register. They stuck me in the gift shop for hours and hours and hours.

Many times, I’d walked past May’s hundred‑year‑old trunk full of Victorian goodies. May herself never reached across the decades and spoke to me until that day, when I peered closely into the jumbled collection of relics and saw her thick, two‑foot‑long auburn braid. It was, indeed, just like mine.

The story of May’s life and death is mundane — an ordinary childhood cut short byencephalitis, a common 19th‑century disease. She was born in 1866 to Luther and Mary Woolsey of Sacramento, California, attended Primary School No. 3, belonged to the First Congregational Church, and died suddenly on September 21, 1879. Her brief existence would’ve faded from memory as her family grew old and died off, were it not for an act of her distraught parents: they packed all of May’s personal belongings into a trunk and, in keeping with the melodramatic customs of the time, sealed the trunk into a secret compartment below the stairway of the Woolsey home.

Toys, dolls, clothing, shoes. Schoolbooks, calling cards, newspaper clippings, party invitations. A sepia‑toned studio portrait of May herself, her long wavy hair gracefully arranged over her shoulder. All these ephemeral remains, the tangible evidence of an obscure, brief life, remained carefully hidden away until 1979, when the new owner of the Victorian house in the Alkali Flat neighborhood fortuitously happened upon the hatch cut into the second-floor landing.

I wasn’t living in Sacramento in 1979, so I missed the media attention May achieved that spring. Her time capsule, discovered exactly one hundred years after it had been so carefully concealed, was studied by local historians and put on display in the museum. May Woolsey had earned her fifteen minutes of fame.


“Where are You Going and What Will You Do When You Get There?” collage by M. Parfitt

Fast forward to 1996: My tenuous connection to May, via our matching hairstyles, was about to intensify. I was soon to become May Woolsey.

The volunteer coordinator brought it up casually. “The Old City Cemetery is planning a Halloween Moonlight Tour as a fundraiser,” he explained. “They need volunteers to portray interesting people who are buried in the cemetery. You know, with that hair, you could be May Woolsey.”

I cut him short with a reminder that it had been a long, long time since I’d been a twelve‑year‑old.

“It’ll be dark, you’ll be in a costume, and the audience will be pretty far away. C’mon, you like cemeteries. It’ll be fun.”

I couldn’t come up with an argument. The thought of hanging out in a cemetery at night — and not getting kicked out — was intriguing. He had me by my two‑foot‑long braid.

My transformation into May Woolsey required research. I stared at her belongings through the glass display case, taking in the details of her fancy Victorian gloves, beaded purse, and satin slippers. I imagined what it was like for her to play with the archaic games and toys found in the trunk, their rules and instructions guided by the straitlaced etiquette of her day. She had quaint things like small patchwork quilt fragments, dolls, bits of knitting, and some very serious-looking little textbooks.

My portrayal would involve reading excerpts from May Woolsey’s diary — and May, it seemed, was obsessed with fashion. Her diary entries described a “lovely fan,” pink silk “stockens,” and a new party dress of black silk trimmed with velvet. She also listed the colors and styles of the dresses worn by her friends. She was a hip twelve‑year‑old, by 1879 standards.

May’s tale featured a postscript straight from a Victorian ghost story. Mrs. Woolsey, disconsolate in her loss, had hired a spiritualist to communicate with May from beyond the grave. And sure enough, tucked in the trunk among May’s possessions was a letter seemingly written by the late, lamented daughter: “Dear Mama, I am so happy as I did write to you and say I was happy. Now, Mama dear, do not weep for me….”

The letter offered hope of a reunion and, no doubt, gave Mrs. Woolsey a bit of solace. However, the lower edge of the letter had been torn off before it was placed in the trunk. The last words, and the signature, were missing. This enigma lay at the heart of May Woolsey’s story: Had she communicated from beyond the grave?

My job was to look and sound like May Woolsey: stand at her grave, read her words, recite that mysterious unsigned letter. I thought back to my own pre‑teen years: my passion for the New York Yankees, my appetite for Mad magazine, those knockdown-dragout battles with my brothers. I had nothing in common with this 19th‑century girl. How could I possibly pull this off?

I also had absolutely no acting experience. Four other volunteers, portraying Mr. and Mrs. Woolsey and two incidental characters, would round out the plot of our little drama, but May was the central character. The idea of speaking in front of a crowd didn’t scare me. In fact, I relished the idea of a captive audience. I wanted to be seen and heard — but being seen and heard as this Victorian maiden that didn’t thrill me. Although I didn’t know it at the time, May had her own plans. She, too, wanted to be seen and heard.

The final rehearsal went off without a hitch. The logistics of setting up a theatrical lighting system in a cemetery proved to be a nightmare, but we had an experienced technical staff and, after some fine‑tuning, it did work. Plenty of sound checks assured us that the wireless mikes were functional. We would give our performance for an early audience, relax for an hour, then do it again for a late audience.

The sun went down. The first audience filed in.

From our hiding places behind nearby headstones, we watched the other actors play out their scenarios of sad and mysterious deaths. There might’ve been forty or more volunteers for the Moonlight Tour. Our story was fourth on the route through the cemetery, so we had plenty of time to get ready. It should’ve gone off without a hitch, but May Woolsey had other plans.

The audience approached our site and settled into place on the benches and bleachers set up for the occasion. The lights went up and we started our performance. Suddenly, all the lights went off — all, that is, except the one that was aimed directly at little May Woolsey, the star of the show. The support staff scrambled to illuminate my cohorts with flashlights, but our seven‑minute skit was performed almost entirely in shadow.

The audience didn’t seem to mind. We bowed to their polite applause, stood at our positions until they trudged off to the next grave, then shook off our panic with a bout of frantic equipment checks. The next performance would be perfect.

A strange wave of mischievous energy washed over me. I felt like giggling, like dancing. My high‑collared lace blouse, recently picked up at a thrift store for 99 cents, suddenly looked pretty and feminine. (I forgot I was wearing an old sweatshirt underneath it for warmth.) My stockinged legs were warm. My tall lace‑up boots were sturdy. My petticoats and layered skirts rustled and spun around me. I wore a slip, a two-layer crinoline, and a calf-length skirt with three flounces. Not historically accurate, but it was the best I could do with very little money. In the dark, it looked fine. It gave the effect of Victorian opulence, and that was all that mattered.

The big satin bow in my flowing auburn curls fluttered in the wind. I wanted — needed — to be free and silly and ridiculous.

I ran to the chainlink fence that separated the cemetery from Riverside Boulevard. Finding a spot illuminated by the full moon and a conveniently placed streetlight, I jumped out of the shadows, into view of the passing cars. Horns honked, fingers pointed — the sight of a Victorian girl dancing in a cemetery on Halloween night nearly caused a five‑car pileup. A pirouette and a curtsy, and back I went into the shadows. I ran gleefully back to my grave. I mean, May’s grave.

The late audience arrived on schedule and we took our places in the dark. The lights went up. No problem. The first actor started speaking. Without warning, his microphone died. He was forced to shout his lines. The next actor took his cue and, within seconds, his microphone crackled and fell silent. On it went, each actor hollering lines meant to be spoken softly and reverently. My cue approached. I spoke. My mike worked. May’s mike worked.

The evening belonged to May Woolsey. Her lights, her microphone. No one could overshadow her this night. Afterward, the actor who played Mrs. Woolsey swore the spirit of May had been angry about the scene enacted on her gravesite. However, I knew better. I was May Woolsey for a few minutes. I knew she simply wanted to show off and dance and be a kid again, after all those silent years.

May didn’t mind the scene. She just wanted to steal it.

This piece originally appeared in Morbid Curiosity #2. Check out M. Parfitt’s other essay about the Old City Cemetery here.



M. Parfitt is an artist, writer, collector of exquisitely awful junk, keeper of hair, saver of broken toys, and hoarder of yellowed newspaper clippings.  You may find her wandering down a deserted alley, traipsing through an old cemetery or peering into an abandoned warehouse.  Her mixed-media work incorporates fabric, paper, blood, hair, lint, nails, dog fur and other unexpected materials.  

Cemetery Travel interviewed M. Parfitt about guiding tours here.




Death's Garden001About the Death’s Garden project:

For the next couple months, I’m planning to put a cemetery essay up every Friday. If there is a cemetery that has touched your life, I would love to hear from you, particularly if there is one you visited on vacation — or if you got married in one. The submissions guidelines are here.

Behind the Scenes at the Old City Cemetery

M. Parfitt in mourning garb
Photograph by Lori Mattas

M. Parfitt is an artist, writer, collector of exquisitely awful junk, keeper of hair, saver of broken dishes, and hoarder of yellowed newspaper clippings. You may find her wandering down a deserted alley, traipsing through an old cemetery, or peering into an abandoned warehouse.  Her artwork has been featured in exhibits from Connecticut to California, and her essays appeared in every issue of Morbid Curiosity magazine.

Cemetery Travel: How did you get interested in cemeteries in the first place?

M. Parfitt: I’ve always been intrigued by old cemeteries: the monuments, the history, the unknown stories of people buried below.  My family never visited cemeteries, so they always seemed mysterious and off-limits to me.   I still find them mysterious, but they’re definitely not off-limits!

Cemetery Travel: Have cemeteries influenced your artwork?

M. Parfitt: No, surprisingly, they haven’t.  I don’t know why!

Cemetery Travel: You’ve been involved with the Old City Cemetery for years.  What’s your connection to them?

M. Parfitt: In 1993 I was a volunteer at the Sacramento History Museum (which was then called the Discovery Museum).  The volunteer coordinator told me my long hair reminded him of May Woolsey’s braid, which was displayed in the museum with her belongings.

May Woolsey’s grave

May was buried in the Old City Cemetery. The coordinator mentioned that I’d make a good May Woolsey for the cemetery’s Halloween Moonlight Tour.  That was the first I’d heard about tours at the cemetery.  I’d never even been there.  Still, I signed up, played May, and was hooked.  I played her every Halloween for seven years.  I lost touch with the cemetery committee for quite a while, but a couple years ago I decided to attend one of the Saturday morning history tours and was hooked all over again.  I went to as many tours as I could, took notes and photos, and vowed to become a tour guide.  Last year I gave my first tour and I loved it.

Cemetery Travel: Does the cemetery still do the night tours?

M. Parfitt: Yes.  The committee holds evening fundraiser tours several times a year, plus Halloween tours.  I haven’t done an evening tour since 1999, but I’m going to participate in the upcoming “Beer, Babes and Brawls” tour on Friday, July 13th.  Ticket information is here.

Cemetery Travel: Why did you want to be a tour guide and how did you prepare?

M. Parfitt: When I was a kid, my family visited historic sites every summer. I always thought tour guides had the best job in the world.  They spent their workdays surrounded by fascinating antiques and they told amazing stories to visitors.  Some of them wore historic costumes, which was a big draw for me as well.

Many years ago, I tried to get a job as a state park tour guide, but apparently people who have those jobs never give them up, because no position ever opened up.  Being a volunteer tour guide is the next best thing.  In some ways it’s better, because I don’t have to do it; I do it because I want to.

When I decided to offer my services to the cemetery, I knew it’d be difficult because nobody on the committee knew me.  I attended the annual meeting, met a few people, traded e-mail addresses, and kept showing up for those Saturday morning tours with my camera and notebook.  Then I was invited to the annual tour-scheduling meeting, which was a little intimidating because most of the others had already come up with tour ideas and picked the dates they wanted.

I saw a booklet from a tour that had been done years ago and just blurted out, “I’d like to do this tour!” It was called “Survivors of Winter Storms.”  The committee said okay and it was a done deal.

The meeting happened in November and my tour was the following April.  After talking with some other volunteers, I broadened it to “Storm Survivors,” because I found some interesting stories that took place in the summer.

I panicked for five solid months.  I researched and memorized and rehearsed and finally pulled it off without a hitch.  Whew.  I should explain that these tours are never done solo.  Every tour “leader” has a “helper” who tells some stories.  Many tours are done by groups of four or five guides.

Cemetery Travel: Do you have other tours in the works?

M. Parfitt: This year I was the helper for Julianna’s “Symbolism and Victorian Mourning Practices” tour in April.  This Saturday, July 7th, I’m leading a tour called “Close Calls and Calamities.”  I should really say I’m co-leading, since my helper, Jean, is telling as many stories as I am.  We also have an additional guide, Eric, who’ll be telling one tale.  A week after that, I’m telling one story at the evening “Beer, Babes and Brawls” tour.  In September I’ll be helping Eric with his “Sacramento Labor History” tour.  I also participated in a private tour in May.  (Visitors can schedule private tours for a fee.)

Cemetery Travel: Do you have a favorite tombstone?

M. Parfitt: I never leave the cemetery without visiting May Woolsey!   She has a lot of fans.  I always find trinkets left at her headstone: strings of beads, little toys, lipsticks, pencils, ribbons.  It’s very sweet.  I also like the Van Voorhies mausoleum, the zinc Simon headstone, Georgia Fisher’s heavily vandalized terra cotta monument, and the Ross family plot.   There’s a strange brick-and-cinderblock mausoleum for the Golding-Carrington family that’s off by itself in a seldom-visited corner. I’d love to know more about it.

Cemetery Travel: Why should people care about cemeteries?

M. Parfitt: I think it’s a shame when people refuse to visit cemeteries because they’re “spooky.”  That’s silly.  Cemeteries are repositories of history, in the form of life stories; art, in the form of monuments and architecture; and nature, in the form of gardens and landscaping.  They should be preserved, not just out of respect for the dead, but for the benefit of future generations.

Shattuck family monument, with the Golding-Carrington mausoleum in the background.

At the Old City Cemetery, we’re always learning fascinating and unexpected stories about the people buried there.  Their stories would be lost to history if nobody had looked at their headstones and thought, hmm, I should find out who he or she was.  Without a name and a date on a headstone piquing a volunteer’s curiosity, these people would be forgotten.

Cemetery Travel: Anything else you want to mention?

M. Parfitt: A few months ago, I offered to be an administrator for the cemetery’s Facebook page.  It’s fun to see the “likes” go up, up, up.  It’s also fun and challenging to come up with exciting announcements about upcoming tours.  I take photos at tours and post them on the Facebook page so visitors can see themselves (or see what they missed). I really try to be a cheerleader for the cemetery.  I want everyone to know what a fabulous treasure we have right here in Sacramento!

Cemetery of the Week #66: Sacramento City Cemetery

Old City Cemetery muse

a.k.a. Old City Cemetery
1000 Broadway
Sacramento, California 95818
Telephone: (916) 448-0811
Founded: December 1849
Size: 44 acres
Number of interments: more than 25,000
Open: Summer hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
Due to city budget constraints, the City Cemetery will be closed every Wednesday and Thursday until further notice.

Approximately 90 miles northeast of San Francisco, Sacramento became capitol of California in 1854.  More recently, Sacramento hosted governors Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwartzenegger.

Prior to that, Sacramento became the first California boomtown in 1849. The former frontier outpost benefitted immensely as the last provisioning point for the forty-niners on their way up to the Sierra Gold Fields. Between 1848 and 1853, over half a million people passed through Sacramento on the way to seek their fortunes.

Sacramento City Cemetery was founded by a city ordinance in December 1849 to be a “public grave yard” unaffiliated with any religious organization. It wasn’t the first public graveyard in town: New Helvetia Cemetery, now Sutter Middle School, preceded it. Still, the Old City Cemetery remains as the oldest original (non-rebuilt) historical site in Sacramento.

Sacramento mourner

It’s an incredibly beautiful place. Beneath the arching branches of oaks and the fronts of palms, white marble markers stand against the flawless blue Californian sky. Ornamentation varies from Egyptian Revival to little lambs, from hands clutching each other throughout eternity to angels and muses standing upright against their grief. The Grand Army of the Republic has a noble monument. Enormous antique rosebushes sparkle with vivid blossoms. Squirrels chase over the gravestones, followed by low-slinking cats.

Historical markers stand before several of the plots, describing the lives and times of Sacramento’s most permanent residents. Senators, governors, and a Supreme Court Justice share the ground with 2000 pioneers from around the globe. Among the historic dead lies Mark Hopkins, one of the men responsible fro the transcontinental railroad. His monument cost $80,000 in 1879. John Sutter Jr. was the son of the man on whose property gold was discovered. The Tilden family descended from settlers who came over on the Mayflower. The son of Alexander Hamilton was buried in three places before finally coming to rest in the Sacramento City Cemetery. 600 Sacramentans buried in a mass grave during the cholera epidemic of 1850 testify to the hardships of pioneer life.

The Old City Cemetery Committee formed in 1987 to combat neglect in the cemetery and repair broken tombstones. Volunteers continue to research the cemetery, raise funds for repair, tend the garden plots, and lead tours. Their extensive tour schedule is here.  This weekend’s tour focuses on Close Calls and Calamities. The theme of next week’s evening fundraiser is Beer, Babes, and Brawls, for an audience 21 and over, since it includes a beer-tasting. A .pdf flyer is here.

Useful links:

The Old City Cemetery homepage

Map of the cemetery

The Old City Cemetery Facebook page

California Native Plant Demonstration Garden in the cemetery

Cemetery Registry page on the cemetery

Other Old City Cemetery links on Cemetery Travel:

My visit to Cora’s grave

Behind the Scenes at the Old City Cemetery

Child’s grave in Sacramento


Close Calls and Calamities

In the Old City Cemetery

This Saturday morning in Sacramento, California will repeatedly bring you to the brink of disaster, and sometimes push you over the edge! Oh, the disasters our Sacramento forebears had to deal with!  It’s the Close Calls and Calamities tour Saturday, July 7 at 10 a.m.

California’s early settlers had to deal with floods, fires, shipwrecks, and all manner of disasters.  Who lived and who died?  Who perished and who survived? Who sank and who swam? Learn of incredible hardships on land and on sea during this fascinating tour.

The tour is free, but donations are appreciated.  All funds go to the preservation and restoration of this lovely old cemetery.

Close Calls and Calamities Flyer

Historic City Cemetery
1000 Broadway
Sacramento 95818
916-264-7839 or 916-448-0811

Free parking is available across the street from the 10th Street Gate.