San Francisco National Cemetery is a U.S. National Cemetery, located in the Presidio of San Francisco, California. Because of the name and location, it is frequently confused with Golden Gate National Cemetery, a few miles south of the city. About 1937, San Francisco residents voted to no longer build cemeteries within the city proper and, as a result, the site for a new national cemetery was selected south of the city limits. The cemetery is one of only three within San Francisco city limits (the others being the Columbarium of San Francisco and the historic graveyard next to Mission Dolores.)
When Spain colonized what would become California, this area was selected as the site for a fort, or presidio, to defend San Francisco Bay. About 40 families traveled here from northern Mexico in 1776 and built the first settlement, a small quadrangle, only a few hundred feet west of what is now Funston Avenue. Mexico controlled the Presidio following 1821, but the fort became less important to the Mexican government. In 1835, most soldiers and their families moved north to Sonoma, leaving it nearly abandoned. During the Mexican-American War, U.S. troops occupied and repaired the damage to the fort.