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Tulocay Cemetery

Tulocay Cemetery
411 Coombsville Rd Napa

A walk through time

In continuous use since 1859 Tulocay Cemetary is a trip through the history of Napa. The famous, the infamous, and the forgotten are all buried here.

Tucked away in the serene countryside of Napa, California lies the historic Tolocay Cemetery, a site steeped in history and reverent tranquility. Founded in the mid-1800s, this cemetery holds a significant place in the local community, serving as the final resting place for many notable individuals and providing a glimpse into the area’s rich past.

Established in 1858, the cemetery was originally intended to serve the needs of Napa Valley’s pioneer settlers. The name “Tolocay” is believed to be of Native American origin, meaning “place of the spirits,” underscoring the sacred nature of the burial ground.

Tolocay Cemetery also holds architectural and artistic value. The cemetery’s design reflects the changing tastes and preferences of different eras, featuring a variety of grave markers ranging from ornate monuments to simple headstones. This diversity of styles adds to the overall charm and aesthetic appeal of the cemetery.

Preservation efforts have been ongoing to maintain the solemn beauty and historical integrity of Tolocay Cemetery. The site was added to the California Historical Landmarks list in 1970, acknowledging its significance in the region’s history. As visitors explore its peaceful grounds, they are reminded of the lives and stories woven into the fabric of this esteemed resting place. Tolocay Cemetery serves as a lasting tribute to the individuals who have left their mark on the region and a poignant reminder of the importance of preserving and embracing our local history.

The 48+ acres of land for the cemetery was donated to the City of Napa by Don Cayetano Juarez, owner of a 8,880-acre Mexican land grant on the east side of the Napa River. Juarez is remembered as a kindly and generous man whose donation was a typical gesture – although it was not the best farmland. Cemetery workers have struggled for years with the rocky “Tulocay topsoil’.

In appreciation for the land, Juarez was asked to select a lot for his family’s burying ground. The headstones with Spanish inscriptions are very much in evidence today.