SAN DIEGO—The remains of more than 4,000 destitute individuals lie underneath a bare dirt lot at the Mount Hope Cemetery, but plans are in the works that could transform the little-visited section and attract more visitors to the historic graveyard.
"There are at least 15 to 20 historical burials here among the 76,000," said California State Park Historian, Alexander Bevil.
Nestled within the 140 year old cemetery, the remains of some of San Diego's best-known figures. Among the historic figures calling the cemetery home are Alonso Horton, the founder of downtown San Diego, and his clan. Other famous families include the Jessups, and the Whaleys. And legendary mystery writer Raymond Chandler is also buried there.
"The alleged ghost of Violet Whaley's one of the ghosts that haunt the Whaley House, but she's laid to rest right here," Bevil said.
But tucked away from the landscaped rows of tombstones is a lot known as the Evergreen Cemetery. The City of San Diego is considering giving it a makeover. Until recently, the Evergreen section served as the burial ground for San Diegans who couldn't afford a gravestone, but now the city is considering building a desert garden directly on top of the thousands of remains.
Planning for the project is in its early stages, and the cost is still not known. But in addition to the garden, the city is thinking about scattering public art among the gravesites, and offering guided tours in the hope of attracting more visitors to the little-visited historic cemetery. .