Take a Stroll Through Three Historic Colorado Cemeteries
Colorado's rich western history has been preserved in many places throughout the state. Legendary stories of Colorado's earliest settlers continue to live on through original architecture and relics of the past that line the walls of local museums.
Cemeteries are another fascinating spot to uncover clues about pioneers of the Centennial State.
Going for a graveyard stroll isn't everyone's idea of a good time, but if doing so doesn't creep you out, it can actually be a pretty interesting way to spend the day.
The graves at Colorado's oldest cemetery definitely have some tales to tell. Founded in 1876, Riverside Cemetery is a cultural treasure and one of the most significant historical resources in the state.
Many of Colorado’s first residents found their final resting place at Riverside, including Augusta Tabor, Barney and Julia Ford, Silas Soule, and three territorial governors – John Evans, Samuel Elbert, and John Routt. More than 1,000 veterans from the Civil War through the first Gulf War are also buried here.
The 130-year-old destination has the distinction of being one of the first park-like, rural cemeteries in the Rocky Mountain region.
In 1992, the 77-acre site was designated as a National Historic District. In 2008, Riverside Cemetery was listed as one of Colorado’s “Most Endangered Places” by Colorado Preservation, Inc.
Riverside Cemetery is located half a mile north of I-70 at 5201 Brighton Boulevard. The grounds are accessible between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Fairmount Funeral Home & Cemetery
The second oldest cemetery that's still operating in Colorado can be found at 430 South Quebec Street in Denver. Fairmount Cemetery was established in 1890 and its two original buildings are now designated historic landmarks.
Fairmount is home to Colorado’s most extensive arboretum, filled with dozens of Champion Trees and one of the largest collections of Heritage Roses in North America. The Fairmount Mausoleum contains one of the largest stained glass collections in Colorado.
Many prominent people were laid to rest at Fairmount. The list includes 19 governors, 11 U.S. senators, multiple notable war heroes, educational pioneer Emily Griffith, philanthropist Helen Bonfils, the Boettcher and the Brown families, jazz musician George Keith, and major league baseball player James Moore.
Cedar Hill Cemetery
The peaceful Cedar Hill Cemetery in Castle Rock dates back to 1875. It was one of the original graveyards to be established along Colorado's Front Range