BODIES UNDER THE PARK – Mission Park San Diego – Paranormal History

August 14, 2019 0 By William Hollis

hey let’s tell them about the park that
has a cemetery underneath of it yeah and a little playground look at kids play
right on top although their pair of peeps and welcome to another episode of
our haunted travels I’m your host Sean Donnelly
I’m your co-host barium Donnelly hey we are here on location in San Diego at
Mission parks also called Pioneer Park interesting place here folks because it
just so happens this park right here actually has a cemetery underneath of it
and I thought yeah right when I was doing research but I did some more
digging and yeah it’s confirmed we’ll tell you about that here in a little bit
let’s get some shots Mission Hills Park is a park with multiple names Mission
Hills Park Calvary pioneer Memorial Park and simply Pioneer Park it also has an
interesting past and at that time it too had several names it used to be a
cemetery and I guess it technically still is as most of the bodies were not
moved and still sit in their final resting places but I’ll get to that in a
few minutes in fact it has had several names as a cemetery as well when it was
known as a cemetery it was officially identified as Calvary Cemetery which was
a Catholic cemetery with graves dating back to the 1870s but it was also known
as the new Catholic cemetery as it was used after the
El Campo Santo Cemetery was filled then just simply the Catholic cemetery during
its full use and eventually it was known as the old cemetery after Holy Cross
Cemetery opened today it’s not identified as a cemetery at all and it’s
known even to some residents of San Diego as simply a park there is an
internment Memorial in the corner of the park for those buried and is the only
indication today that Calvary Cemetery ever existed so how did it go from being
a cemetery to a park you ask it all began in 1869 when Joseph S Manasseh
purchased the tract of land for ten dollars from the city of San Diego at
twenty-five cents an acre the records indicate that this became
official On February 18th of 1896 but not long later in 1873 it became
necessary to find a new burial ground as it turns out the land chosen was part of
the land sold to Manasseh the city of San Diego trustees ended up purchasing
10 acres of land back from an a-c for a sum of $500 on July 7th of 1873 and on
October 27th they portioned off five acres of this land to be the Catholic
cemetery for the Immaculate Conception parish and five acres of it for a
Protestant cemetery unfortunately this land ends up being
very rocky and after the first burial in 1875 father you back of the church
requested a new location they went back to Manasseh and exchanged the land that
they had previously purchased for a different ten acres of land
between February and March of 1876 making the new land officially the
cemetery on March 11th of 1876 the other five acres would become
Mission Hills Park on April 12th of 1909 as the Protestants ended up not using
their portion of the tract of land in 1919 the church opened a new cemetery
called Holy Cross Cemetery and Calvary begins to be neglected and falls into
disrepair by 1938 it’s deemed that the city will sponsor a rehab project for
the cemetery and build an adobe wall around it with a historical association
of San Diego paying for the materials and the WPA to pay for the labor
construction on the wall began November 7th of 1938 and the entire project was
completed by November 26th of 1939 the completion was culminated with a
rededication ceremony and a stone monument in the 1940s the US military
had an observation base on the cemetery grounds there was also a caretaker for
the cemetery that was employed by the city of San Diego and unfortunately
there was vandalism of the graves in 1957 a bill was approved that allowed
for declarations of abandonment for cemeteries the same bill would allow the
land to then be converted to what would be called pioneer parks the law also
provided for the removal of headstones and memorials and the creation of a
central memorial to honor those buried in 1961 the city looked into doing this
and on March 27th of 1968 the church provided the city with a quick claim
deed to the cemetery grounds On June 11th of 1968 Calvary Cemetery was
declared abandoned in February of 1969 it was declared that that it would
become a historical site by the city of San Diego historical site board and the
architectural firm of Paderewski Dean & Associates was hired by the San Diego
City Council to prepare a general development plan for a pioneer park on
July 23rd of 1960 9 Clements Granite Works was given
permission to remove all unmarked stones the stones were placed mostly into a
ravine in Holy Cross Cemetery several important people and decent stones
salvaged were eventually turned into the memorial in the park On February 17th of
1970 tibi Pennock & Sons Inc is granted the contract for converting the cemetery
into a pioneer park and between February and June rubbings and photographs were
made for as many of the monuments and gravestones of Calvary Cemetery as
possible on September 30th of 1971 it was deemed that a portion of the land
named the Catholic cemetery would become a public park known as Calvary pioneer
Memorial Park in 1971 trapti brothers development company was given the
contract to build restroom facilities in Pioneer Park it was not completed
however until November of 1977 also in 1977 bronze plaques containing the names
of some of the people who were buried at Calvary Cemetery were designed by John
Davidson and were placed in the park what would be known today as Calvary
pioneer Memorial Park was officially dedicated on December 11th on February
9th in 1988 the gravestones removed from Calvary Cemetery in 1970 were finally
bulldozed over a few of the gravestones were saved and turned into a small
memorial atop the location in Mount Hope Cemetery now notice that I did not
mention a date for the disinterment of those buried in the cemetery
that’s because most weren’t some of the bodies were reinterred at other
cemeteries if they could be paid for by the remaining family members the
majority of the bodies however are still remaining under the grass of today’s
park among those still buried in Calvary pioneer Memorial Park
our Father Antonio D you back San Diego’s first parish priest and two
prominent early sandy Aegon’s captain Cave Johnson Koontz and his wife
Isadora Bandini captain Koontz by the way was a member of the same class at
West Point as ulysses s grant also buried there are deceased from two
above-ground vaults that were opened on August 19th of 1969 only to have the
caskets reinterred directly below their original tomb in 2002 a local who
spearheaded the creation of Pioneer Park named Frank Anton Shelley died some say
antenna celli was buried in the defunct Calvary Cemetery
but others indicate it’s merely a Cenotaph or an empty monument to honor
him and his remains are really elsewhere in any case a memorial bench in his name
can be found in the park today also in the park today you can attend a variety
of functions or just stop by and stroll the grounds or even have a picnic as
food is allowed but no glass containers there is a children’s play area of
course the restrooms the memorial to the past
or should I say current residents of the park and a walking trail which you can
walk all around the park on Friday nights in the summer you can attend one
of the summer concert music in the park events or you can even have a party of
your own or your wedding with a capacity of 750 people just know bounce houses
sorry but inflatables just aren’t allowed a park yep on top of the
cemetery yep well as you notice we’re back here at
the studio because we’re changing things up a little bit we just covered the
history of the location while we were on location but we did it back I don’t know
you could probably bet there’s some paranormal claims at this place you
might think so yeah so if you like to hear about them the video is gonna come
out on Thursday Boris is getting to work for it ghost stories in folklore and
then we’re gonna come back on Friday and tell you our personal experience and
theories about this location so until next time thanks for watching and happy
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Aggie video thanks for watching happy honey