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Mountain View Cemetery Tour

Timing is everything. Like everyone else, members of the Piedmont Walking on Wednesday group had to endure the 100-degree heat in Piedmont from Sunday to Tuesday last week, but Wednesday's forecast was for a cooler day. The group was thankful because it had planned a guid- ed walking tour of historic Mountain View Cemetery with Dr. Ron Bachman. But no one could have imagined 62 walkers and two K-9 best friends showing up on June 12.

The group was especially pleased that a number of spouses and also first time walkers were in attendance. This number of walkers was more than twice as large as any previous walking group, and was also the largest number of tour participants that Bachman had led at Mountain View.

Bachman's knowledge of the cemetery and California history is truly impressive. Throughout the 90-minute tour, he provided information about the 226-acre cemetery and the people who are buried there. The cemetery was established in 1863 by a group of East Bay pioneers, and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who also designed New York City's Central Park and much of the grounds of the University of California in Berkeley and Stanford University in Palo Alto. Bachman pointed out the graves of many of California's important historical figures who are buried in the cemetery, and the many grandiose crypts, known as Millionaires' Row. He also identified other impressive graves and mausoleums, and provided a stream of interesting facts and histories. For example, William Gwin, California's first U.S. Senator is entombed in a tall pyramid that was inspired by America's fascination with Egypt in the late nineteenth century. He also explained that Mountain View Cemetery became a primary place to be buried in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area because the City of San Francis- co decided in its early days that it didn't want to have cemeteries within the city limits. Bachman will lead another Walking on Wednesday tour next spring.


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