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San Francisco is a city notorious for its Not-In-My-Backyard neighbors eager to protest anything liable to affect their peace and quiet. The denizens on the east side of Lone Mountain are no exception. They've fought against noisy concerts from nearby Golden Gate Park, driveway-blocking motorists from nearby University of San Francisco, and a new Goldman Institute on Aging facility at the old Coronet Theater site.
The project involves the construction of three single-story buildings filed with niches for the storage of cremains of 5,000 deceased people. Another 300 niches will serve as dignified repositories for the remains of pets.
The San Francisco Columbarium, containing over five thousand niches, was designed by British architect Bernard J. Cahill and opened in 1898 in what was then the 167-acre Odd Fellows Cemetery. In 1910, San Francisco passed a law prohibiting cremations, and the crematory was demolished. Later all bodies in the cemetery were relocated outside the city. The Columbarium survived but from 1934 to 1979 it was abandoned to racoons and birds, mushrooms and fungus. The Neptune Society acquired the building in 1979 and over the years has performed a dazzling restoration.