Half Moon Bay, CA
Combining a rich history in a beautiful location, this cemetery dates back to the 1860s when the town of Purissima (for purísima, Spanish for “purest”) thrived here.
A lumber mill supported the redwood logging operation in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1868, resident John Purcell deeded some of his property to the town for burials. This generous act prompted the formation of the Purissima Cemetery Association which offered free burials to residents. Nearly 60 settlers were buried here.
Purissima was one of the earliest settlements in the San Mateo Coast but it was plagued with floods and crop failures. Residents also encountered great difficulty in maintaining the village due to its remote location. The population steadily declined before the town lost its last resident prior to World War II.
But while abandoned, the natural beauty of Purissima Cemetery was too appealing to be overlooked. In 2017, Ed Bixby recognized its potential and purchased the site intent on restoring its considerable charm, cleaning up the old gravesites and creating new green burial spaces.
A resting place like no other
Families seeking to lay a loved one to rest with a natural burial will find no more impressive a location than Purissima Cemetery. Offering magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean, the site features massive cedar and pine trees that stand serenely above Purissima Creek.
Verde Road #1, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Preservation Memorial Walk
Help us preserve and protect these precious surroundings by supporting the building of a memorial that will line the entrance of the ecotrail. The stone you purchase may be engraved and the 1′ x 1′ plot it rests on may be used for the burial of cremated remains.
- Burial site opening and closing
- All Faith Chapel coming soon
- Off Trail Natural Burial Ground
- Eco-friendly trail system
- Cremated remains burial
- Advanced reservations are available
- Ponderosa Pine
Learn More About Purissima Historic Cemetery
List of existing graves: Purissima Cemetery, Interment.net
New Interest in Purissima Cemetery by Jim Clifford, San Mateo Daily Journal
New ‘Green Burial’ Cemetery Operating in San Mateo County, KPIX CBS SF Bay Area
Why I Chose a Green Burial by June Smith, Good Times
Cemetery of the Week #164: Purissima by Loren Rhoads, Cemetery Travel
Purissima: New Life for Old Cemetery by Carina Woudenberg, Half Moon Bay Review