|820 Pole Line Road at 8th St.
|Open 24 Hours
With graves dating back to 1855, the Davis Cemetery ranks among Davis' oldest institutions. In addition to its burial and rememberance functions, the cemetery hosts a wide variety of community events throughout the year and prides itself on being “an inviting space for remembrance, contemplation and healing” in the Davis community.
The cemetery gained some recent prominence for being among the first to offer a Green Burial option. Green burial eschews traditional coffins and embalming in favor of untreated wood containers that speed the process of reintegration into nature.
Gallery 1855: Located on the cemetery's premises, Gallery 1855 is a free exhibition only gallery which hosts a new art exhibit each month. Art work is largely photographic in nature and tends to feature professional work from both in and outside of the Davis community. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the gallery anytime during business hours, as odds are some of the helpful employees will be on hand to tell you a little bit more about the art. There is always a Meet the Artist/Open House from 1 PM - 4 PM on the 2nd Sunday of each month, making the cemetery a nice place to visit after a long brunch at Delta of Venus.
Information on upcoming exhibits can be found here
Botanical History: Over the last decade, the cemetery has worked extensively on its grounds keeping, reintroducing native species of plants and reducing pesticide usage. The end result is an impressive array of local plants and flowers with rotating blooms ten months of the year. The cemetery employs a method of benign neglect in the historical section of the graveyard, allowing a slight overgrowth of plants that highlight the age and natural beauty of the premises. Combined with a series of nicely appointed benches and walkways, the Davis Cemetery makes for an excellent public space for contemplation and meditation. The premises are also open 24 hours a day (though unlit).
History: The area was bought by Joseph B. Chiles in 1850, and the grounds were probably used as a cemetery shortly after this purchase. The oldest gravestone still standing in the cemetery dates to 1855. Historical sources note that there used to be a number of wooden grave markers, but they have all been lost to grass fires and vandals. Some of the earliest burials were pioneers and Chinese settlers; due to the lost markers many of them now reside in unmarked graves. The eastern three acres of the current cemetery (closest to the E. 8th St./Pole Line corner) were officially donated to the Catholic Church in the late 1800s by Bridget Dee, the widow of Isaac Skinner Chiles. As such, they remained the sole property of the Catholic Diocese until 1958, at which point the three acres were handed over to the Davis Cemetery District.
There is a marker honoring veterans by the flagpole in front of the office building and a labyrinth cut into the grass on the north side of the office building. A second grass labyrinth is located south of the new Veteran Memorial Fountain area on the grassy slope. Both labyrinths have benches in their centers for extended contemplation and are open to the public. The veteran Memorial Fountain and the Memorial Plaza are used for Memorial Day and Veteran's Day gatherings, as well as for various other public and private functions.
The eastern part of the cemetery where there are no graves used to be a popular dog park. However, due to usage conflicts between dog owners and both cemetery visitors and neighboring residents, the contract between the city and the cemetery was not renewed. (The city has a new dog park on Second St. under the Pole Line overpass.) Visitors are encouraged to walk through this area, which has been extensively restored with native plants and meadow flowers; binoculars and/or cameras can be useful for viewing over 56 species of birds on the property, not to mention rabbits and other small creatures.
The cemetery has discouraged drive-through traffic by erecting a gate at the Pole Line Road entrance. The Pole Line Road entrance is open 9-4:00 pm Monday through Friday and for weekend events. The entrance on 8th street is always open and people are welcome to enjoy the grounds from sunrise to sunset. There is also a pedestrian entrance next on Pole Line Road which is accessible to bicycles and foot traffic..