Buried at Cypress: A Billionaire and a Medical Mystery

More than 300,000 souls from the Bay Area have been laid to rest at Cypress Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park since our founder first opened our facility in 1892.

Among the people who are resting in final peace among our serene and beautiful grounds are many well-known names, ranging in nature from statesmen to celebrities.

In this series, “Buried at Cypress,” we’ll take you along as we explore their stories – some of them you may know, and some you’ll discover along the way.

One of the most legendary names to be laid to eternal rest at Cypress Lawn is world-renowned publisher William Randolph Hearst. At the height of his power, he owned 28 newspapers, 18 magazines, and several movie studios and radio stations. He was also active in politics, and at one time ran for mayor of New York City.

His legacy lives on today through his family’s elegant mausoleum on our grounds. Phoebe Hearst commissioned the mausoleum, which is a reproduction of the Temple of Athena Nike in the Acropolis and features 16 granite columns.

Another name you may not know but are most likely familiar with his story is that of Phineas Gage, known as one of the biggest medical curiosities of all time. Gage’s life changed forever when a tamping rod shot straight through his skull. He survived the ordeal and lived life as normal for many years.

Gage’s body was buried at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco and was transferred to Cypress Lawn in the early 1940s. His skull remains on exhibit at the Warren Anatomical Museum, which is housed within Harvard’s Medical School in Boston.

Want to learn more? Our Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation has may resources available to celebrate our treasured history. We offer monthly trolley tours, which include a docent-led journey of our grounds. We also have several books available that chronicle our unique and historic relationship with the Bay Area community.

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