Here is my original map showing the general location of St. Michael's Cemetery, and the adjoining asylum/home/school property grounds. The cemetery was opened in 1867 and and closed in 1932. The number of interred is still undefined.


View or download the New Map Here.



The new map actually shows the location of St. Michael's Cemetery and the Magdalen Asylum. The cemetery was moved in 1932 to Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma. The 1899/1990 Sanborn Fire Insurance map*, clearly shows the cemetery's exact location.

It seems to have covered a small area between San Bruno Avenue (previously Nebraska Street), Potrero Avenue, 21st and 22nd Streets. Dan Bosque**, of San Bruno, tells me, "The cemetery ran north-south along the west side of what would have been San Bruno Avenue, going south 1/4 block from what would have been 21st Street." There is a parking garage there now and Highway 101 nicks or just misses the northeast corner of the site of the old St. Michael's Cemetery today.

In 1869 a Magdalen Asylum for "wayward girls" was built, by the Sisters of Mercy, just west of the cemetery. St. Michael's Cemetery appears to be where some of the Sisters were buried. That number is not known. Bosque further reported, "I learned that the Magdalen Asylum next to the cemetery changed its name in 1904 to St. Catherine's Home and Industrial School with the address of 901 Potrero Avenue, and that the property was sold in 1932 to the City and County of San Francisco for a General Hospital expansion."

Bosque added, "in 1932 the Sisters of Mercy moved the girls and women to the University Mound High School recently opened and operated by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, another location with a long story. At this new location there had been a short lived University Mound College (1863-1869), a boys' boarding school (1869-1871), then the Lick Old Ladies Home which took over the large property. Half of the original "university" property was sold to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd for their convent and high school. The old ladies home is now called The University Mound Ladies Home, which continues today. The University Mound High School operated from 1932 to 1977. The property and buildings are now the Cornerstone Academy, Cambridge Campus, still used as a high school.

University Mound is a place name used by few people. It's on a hillside rather than a mound. Many streets have names of universities, but there was a university there for only a short time, or not at all, depending on what you call a university. It's almost as unknown as St. Michael's Cemetery."

There's an e-book that shows the St. Michael's Cemetery: The Life of Mother Mary Baptist Russell, Sister of Mercy, by Matthew Russell, between pages 178 and 179. In a greenspan.com blog entry, on November 11, 2004, Angus Macfarlane explains a lot about the Portrero Avenue location's past. Russell commented that an old psychiatric unit stands on the former site of the Magdalyn Asylum. In the meditation garden next to the building is the Lourdes grotto, once part of the St. Catherine's Home. The grotto may be the only remaining vestige of the Home and cemetery.



**Dan Bosque, San Bruno






* Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, under 'Property Records'. San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch.




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