Digital Projects

Jews of the Gold Rush: Sonora Hebrew Cemetery

Founded in 1853, the Sonora Hebrew Cemetery was the first cemetery in the Gold Rush Region. The first burial dates from 1853, and the last was in 1977. On January 13, 1974, it was rededicated as a historic site.

The cemetery includes 43 visible gravestones, and two possible burial mounts.

Records indicate that a mortuary building may have existed on the cemetery grounds, although no evidence of such a structure exists. The cemetery is enclosed by a stone wall built in the 1850’s, and is surrounded by Italian cypress trees.

Photographs of the gravestones in Sonora were taken by Ira Nowinski.

The “Jewish Digital Narratives” are part of the Jews in the Golden State program, which is supported by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund and by an Anonymous gift. The Magnes is a beneficiary of the Esther and Jacques Reutlinger Foundation, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay.


WJHC 1968.36


Archival Description at Magnes Collections Online

External Links

View project on Flickr

Keep Up-To-Date