Arroyo Grande Cemetery, Arroyo Grande
About Arroyo Grande Cemetery, Arroyo Grande
For many years Catholics in Arroyo Grande and the surrounding area were buried in San Luis Obispo near the Mission. Then in the late 1880s, the City of San Luis Obispo decided to open a street at the rear of the Mission Church. The contract for the work was awarded to an out-of-county paving contractor. He was to notify persons whose family members were buried where the route would go so they might arrange the transfer of the graves. Instead, he removed the marble headstone markers, shipped them to San Francisco, and paved them over the graves. The work was completed before this became public knowledge. Even today many graves lie under a San Luis Obispo street.
Incensed, the Catholics of the south county area clamored for their own cemetery. Consequently, John M. Price generously gave some land on a sloping hillside between Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach. This is evidenced in County Recorder records as follows:
Book W – Page 43 “for the sum of $1.00 John Price sold to Bishop Mora – all that part of Lot 12 of Harris Sub-division of parts of the Rancho El Pismo and San Miguelito” described and then shown on a map of the subdivision made in 1886 and recorded and in the amount of two (2) acres — “sold, granted, etc* to Mora and successors for the purpose of, and so long as the same be used for a Roman Catholic burial ground.” Book X – Page 587 “granted a piece containing 339 of an acre 1000 for the Roman Catholic burial ground. Dated Aug. 13, 1887”
(Bishop Mora was Francis Mora, Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles)
Many old wooden markers and stones are long gone. Some of the old wooden markers and stones are too weathered or damaged to read. By today much more vandalism has occurred. For many of the later years, the little cemetery has had neither much use nor much care. Organizations such as the South County Historical Society, Kiwanis, Rotary, the Boy Scouts, and some pioneer family members have, at times, weeded and cleaned, and tried to see to maintenance and restoration. Recently, development has occurred around and behind the grounds. Two of the developers, Bonita Homes, and Reuben Kvidt are responsible for the construction of a stone and wrought iron wall around the grounds. Church member Herbert Brownlee and Historical Society Past President, Jean Hubbard are completing extensive research of church burial records, comparing them with other past records of the grave-stones.