Special Memorial Day 2004 Commemorative at the Historic Coast Guard Cemetery
Contact: John Dell’Osso, 415-464-5135
As part of the National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day, Point Reyes National Seashore will be honoring America’s fallen by placing American flags at the historic graveyard located at G Ranch. The small cemetery contains the graves of four surfmen who died serving as their country as part of the lifesaving crew that operated on the Point Reyes Headlands. Over the course of 78 years, crews participated in an estimated 100 rescues in cold Pacific Ocean waters.
As part of the Memorial Day celebrations across the country, participants are asked at 3:00 pm to pause and remember America’s fallen wherever you are. Ranger Craig Morgan, who has led the program to rehabilitate the cemetery stated that, “These four surfmen who gave their lives continue their watch symbolically over the Point Reyes Peninsula.”
The cemetery is located on a beautiful knoll overlooking Drakes Estero just off Sir Francis Drake near the Coast Guard facility in the northern district of Point Reyes. A new parking area has been constructed on the Coast Guard access road and the cemetery is a short walk from the paved access road.
A picket fence enclosure under Coast Guard ownership contains the marked graves of four surfmen who died while on duty at the United States Life-Saving Station at Point Reyes Beach in the early 1890s. The Life-Saving Station crews launched motor lifeboats into the heavy surf at the Point Reyes beach and conducted numerous rescues of stranded vessels on the treacherous Point Reyes Headlands. The site has been recently rehabilitated with assistance of the National Americorps Program.
A new Lifeboat Station was constructed in 1927 at a more protected location near Chimney Rock. The Station was rehabilitated by the National Park Service and now serves as an educational facility. The Lifeboat Station has received National Historic Landmark Status because it is the last remaining station with an operating railway system for launching vessels on the Pacific Ocean.
The site also contains the headstones and remains of Hinrik Claussen, his wife, and son and daughter-in-law in one fenced area. Hinrik Claussen, a Scandinavian immigrant dairyman, provided oversight for the historic Alphabet Ranches established in the late 1800s on the Point Reyes Peninsula. Mr. Claussen lived at the G Ranch, one of the first ranches to be completed in 1872.
The project is part of the National Park Service’s on-going program to preserve the cultural resources of Point Reyes National Seashore. To visit the gravesite, contact the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5137 for directions.