History

Post image for Kathy Wade takes us on a tour of Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park

Holy Cross Cemetery, located at the intersection of Santa Cruz and Avy in Menlo Park, is a place that hundreds pass by daily, but we’re guessing few residents venture in, or know its history, unless they have deep Catholic roots in the community.

That assumption — and a couple of upcoming  public events — prompted us to visit with the cemetery’s superintendent, Kathy Wade, who’s held that position for the past 12 years.

The Doyle GraveThe cemetery has been in existence since the late 1860s. It was acquired by Nativity Church (located on Oak Grove Avenue) in 1883, which gave it its name, Holy Cross Cemetery.

“The oldest burial spot that I’ve found, at least with a headstone,  is dated 1875,” said Kathy. “There are numerous plots that contain generations of families.”

The initial layout and landscaping of Holy Cross was undertaken by world-renowned landscaper, Michael Lynch, whose projects included many of the grand residences of that era. In the 1950s, burials from the first St. Denis Catholic Church were relocated to Holy Cross when the Stanford linear accelerator was constructed.

Kathy explained that the cemetery offers both traditional casket burial as well as cremation interment to people of the Catholic faith and their relatives. “I’m here to serve the families. I help them select the grave and help with monument orders. I coordinate the burial arrangements and am here at the grave site for each interment.

“We also do genealogy research for families looking for ancestors by answering basic questions and pointing them in the right direction. We have maps as well as alphabetical lists. The initial service is free, but if we get involved in more detailed research, there is a fee.”

John T. Doyle, Elena Atherton Selby, Michael Lynch, Matthew Crowe, John Murray, Giovanni Beltramo, Frank and Mary Roach, William and Margaret Warren are among the early local families who are buried at Holy Cross. “People walking around can get a real sense of the history of the area,” said Kathy, whose father and grandparents were also involved in the cemetery industry.

The Beltramo Grave

“My work is satisfying on so many levels,” she said. “You meet people on the worst day of their life. They are so grateful for anything we do. It’s also good to help families find the missing piece of the puzzle in a genealogy sense.”

The Menlo Park Historical Association is sponsoring a tour of Holy Cross on May 28 led by historian Michael Svanevik; space is limited and participants must reserve in advance. On Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, there will be an outdoor Mass at the cemetery at 11:00 am that is open to the public.

Photos by Scott R. Kline

Captions: Kathy Wade at Holy Cross Cemetery; John T. Dolye (1819-1906), a San Francisco attorney, established his family estate in Menlo Park in 1868 naming it Ringwood; Giovanni Beltramo (1860-1948), arrived in Menlo Park in 1890, John Beltramo established the retail liquor store

{ Be the first to comment }

Camp Fremont Centennial Committee formed to plan events and celebrations

Thumbnail image for Camp Fremont Centennial Committee formed to plan events and celebrations

Ninety-nine years ago today (April 6, 1917) the U.S. entered the European war. At the time, Menlo Park was a relatively sleepy country community consisting of a couple hotels, a few businesses (including several bars) and perhaps 2,000 residents clustered around a Southern Pacific train station. As Barbara Wilcox details in her new book, World […]

Click to read more →

Barbara Wilcox writes a book about Army training in Menlo Park at Camp Fremont

Thumbnail image for Barbara Wilcox writes a book about Army training in Menlo Park at Camp Fremont

Hidden World War I tunnels on the Stanford campus? Author Barbara Wilcox first heard about them from a geophysicist colleague when she was working at the USGS in Menlo Park. She later learned that as America entered World War I in 1917, Stanford University leased three-fourths of its Palo Alto land to allow the creation of an Army […]

Click to read more →

The “mother of all demos” took place in Menlo Park 47 years ago today

Thumbnail image for The “mother of all demos” took place in Menlo Park 47 years ago today

Forty-seven years ago today, the computer mouse debuted. And so did other innovations, including hypertext, object addressing, dynamic file sharing and shared-screen collaboration between two people at different sites communicating over a network. The 90-minute live presentation of the online system, NLS, was given by Douglas C. Engelbart and the 17 researchers working with him in the […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Park’s first resident, Dennis Martin, is subject of book by local author

Thumbnail image for Menlo Park’s first resident, Dennis Martin, is subject of book by local author

It is only fitting that the full story of Menlo Park’s first resident, Dennis Martin, should have been unearthed (so to speak) by ultra-local resident Bo Crane. Bo was born in the old Palo Alto Hospital (now Hoover Pavilion) and was baptized at Holy Trinity Church on Pine near Ravenswood a few years before the […]

Click to read more →

A look at Menlo Park schools from 1875 to 1927 is focus of mini-exhibit

Thumbnail image for A look at Menlo Park schools from 1875 to 1927 is focus of mini-exhibit

A new mini-exhibit with photos and other items chronicling Menlo Park schools from 1875 to 1927 is featured in the Menlo Park Library’s downstairs display case through October 30th. What is the significance of these dates? In the 19th century, the name Menlo Park was used for essentially all the area between Redwood City and the […]

Click to read more →

Swimmers and coaches gather for Add Janes reunion at Menlo Swim Center

Thumbnail image for Swimmers and coaches gather for Add Janes reunion at Menlo Swim Center

Over 30 people turned out last Saturday afternoon for a reunion of folks who swam and/or coached at Add Janes Swim School, which was located in Menlo Park for three decades. The event was held under the trees at the Menlo Swim Center, thanks to Tim Sheeper and staff. Hamburgers and hot dogs were provided by […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Park through the decades is subject of new book packed with photos

Thumbnail image for Menlo Park through the decades is subject of new book packed with photos

Some things stay the same: Lutticken’s and Country Corner are in their familiar places along the Alameda. Ann’s Coffee Shop and Flegel’s can still be found on Santa Cruz Avenue. But did you know that Sharon Heights was once the name of a 32-room mansion, not just a neighborhood. And during the 50s, helicopters were manufactured in […]

Click to read more →

Add Janes Swim Club reunion planned for Sept. 26

Thumbnail image for Add Janes Swim Club reunion planned for Sept. 26

The Add Janes Swim Club reunion is set for Saturday, September 26, at noon at the Burgess Swim Center in Menlo Park. All former club members, swim students, and swim team members are welcome. There will be lunch and special awards. The event is hosted by former team members. Anyone interested in attending, please email bcferrin@yahoo.com

Click to read more →

Foster’s Freeze – suddenly Menlo Park’s hot spot!

Thumbnail image for Foster’s Freeze – suddenly Menlo Park’s hot spot!

Looks like a whole new generation of teens has [finally] discovered Foster’s Freeze. There was a big crowd there yesterday, which was an early dismissal day at Menlo-Atherton. Why were they there, we asked? “Because it’s closing,” was the universal answer. As part of the cohort that really did go there everyday at lunch while […]

Click to read more →

A Menlo mystery: Where did this big bone come from?

Thumbnail image for A Menlo mystery: Where did this big bone come from?

A mystery turned up in our front yard recently. Next door, a home is being extensively remodeled, which  has required a lot of digging. We’re guess that’s when this big bone was unearthed somewhere along the property line. This much we know: This neighborhood was developed in the early 50s. We presume it was field […]

Click to read more →