Along Stockton Boulevard, two notable cemeteries provide a final resting place for community members. They are graced by gardens, memorials and artwork. The ceremonies performed are varied and culturally diverse—some somber, others celebratory and festive. They offer solace, tell a history, keep memories alive, are good for the environment, and provide sacred space for all to enjoy.
Home of Peace Cemetery has been preserving relationships since the first Sacramento Jew, Samuel Harris “Morris” Goldstein, was buried in 1850. Mr. Goldstein was the business partner of Moses Hyman, the founder of the Sacramento Jewish community. Just as so many others did during that time, they came to the Gold Rush region to make their fortunes. Moses Hyman was the driving force behind fulfilling one of the primary priorities for any new Jewish community: establishing a Jewish cemetery. He held a belief that we are all responsible for one another. And so this sacred space was preserved.
Moses purchased a small tract of land on J and 32nd streets and the Hebrew Benevolent Society was tasked with establishing the cemetery. They operated it until 1873 when Congregation B’nai Israel was entrusted with the burial grounds.
In 1924, having outgrown its original location, Mosaic Law Congregation joined with B’nai Israel and Home of Peace Cemetery was relocated to Stockton Boulevard. More than 500 remains were reinterred to other Jewish Sites including Home of Peace. The grounds include monuments recognizing communal catastrophes that define the community’s relationships with each other. One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries west of Rockies, Home of Peace cemetery, which consists of more than 3,000 burials including cremains and crypts, represents a continuation of 168 years of serving the Jewish community of the Sacramento region.
Sounds of Hmong music and chanting float from the Sacramento Memorial Lawn chapel as mourners pay homage. Some participate in what appears to be a carefully choreographed dance; others stand over a casket while a few lie on benches and the carpeted floor. Outside on concrete steps, two men sit and talk quietly. This is how the Hmong bury their dead with days of cultural traditions that the south-area mortuary and cemetery strives to preserve.
Since the 1930s, the Stockton Boulevard cemetery has been the resting place for generations of diverse cultures and religious groups. Among those buried or cremated there are people of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hmong, Sikh, Hindu, Vietnamese, Indian, LDS, Russian and Caucasian heritage. During WWII, it was the only cemetery in Sacramento that permitted Japanese burials. The Su Kara House, designed by a fung shui master, contains cremains and is surrounded by a Japanese garden designed by Ted Tadao Hasegawo.
The founder, Morris Daggett, opened the Daggett Funeral Home and ambulance service at 506 ‘O’ Street on July 21, 1921. In 1934, Daggett founded Sacramento Memorial Lawn as the first joint cemetery-mausoleum in Sacramento and one of the first in California. In 1957 he built the mortuary and moved the funeral home from ‘O’ Street to Stockton Boulevard. Outside the city limits, there was room to grow. Home of Peace was already across the street and Morris knew it was a good site. Sacramento Memorial Lawn has grown to include Veterans and Korean cemeteries.