Unusual art in a cemetery.

Circus Showfolks of America Memorial

Field review by the editors.

Colma, California

Circus dead are buried across America, and clusters of these deceased entertainers can be found in sections of a number of cemeteries. But Colma's is special -- one man who directed us to it called it "Clown Alley."

The Circus section of Olivet Memorial Park was dedicated in 1918 after a horrific train accident in Hammond, Indiana. The focal point is a large stone monument with a brightly painted scene under a circus tent: a cityscape in the background, a giant clown head, carousel and other rides in the foreground.

Clown Alley.

The art belongs on a box of cookies rather than a grave. The Clown of Eternal Jest, with X'd eyes and red-lipped smile -- exactly the face we'd want watching over our mortal remains.

The clown face watches over simple plots with stone plaques and the names of each interred performer. The back of the main monument lists circus people who helped fund the memorial, "so that they may rest in peace among their own," according to one inscription.

Circus Showfolks of America Memorial

Olivet Memorial Park

1601 Hillside Blvd., Colma, CA
Olivet Memorial Park, South of Daly City on Hillside Blvd, entrance is south of F St. Follow road left into cemetery then head for the back. At the large black sailor sculpture, turn left and the show folk are on the left.
Gated after hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Sailors' Union of the Pacific MonumentSailors' Union of the Pacific Monument, Colma, CA - < 1 mi.
Virgin Mary Image in a TreeVirgin Mary Image in a Tree, Colma, CA - < 1 mi.
Mystery TombstoneMystery Tombstone, Colma, CA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Buena Vista Park Tombstones, San Francisco, CA - 6 mi.

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September 29, 2020

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