Congress authorized construction of the facility in 1937, with the first interments in 1941. The cemetery was officially dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1942. Then-Attorney General Earl Warren (and later U.S. Supreme Court justice) was keynote speaker at the ceremony. Golden Gate is one of a large number of U.S. Army planned cemeteries started in the 1930s and completed during the 1940s. They were designed specifically to provide abundant burial opportunities in locations around the nation in cities with very large veteran populations.
Over the years several attempts to expand Golden Gate National Cemetery were met with resistance from local residents, so it has remained at its original 161.5 acres since 1941.