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Ghost Town Cemeteries

There are hundreds of ghost towns in Colorado, remnants of the boom and bust nature of the state's beginnings. Some towns were started, abandoned and later re-inhabited. Hundreds of others are marked by nothing more than a few crumbling buildings or a handful of rock foundations. Many of these settlements are all but forgotten, with no evidence that there had once been a town. In some cases, the only remaining evidence of the town is an abandoned cemetery.

Take, for instance, the solitary grave of Clara Dulansy, who died in 1865, just 12 days after her first birthday. This grave is the only evidence that the town of Mssouri Flats, in Gilpin County, ever existed.

Once the county seat for Summit County, the town of Parkville was once a large, bustling community. Now all that remains are a few skeletal foundations and a cemetery with a few headstones. Parkville was a stong continder for the capital of the Colorado territory in 1861, and lost by a mere 11 votes. Parkville had a Masonic Temple, the first in the territory. It was dedicated by none other than John Chivington, the man who later shot his way into infamy as the leader of the troops in the Sand Creek Massacre.

If you live in the Denver-metro area, and would like to see a ghost town cemetery, you can visit two relatively easy. First is the Melvin-Lewis Cemetery, which is one of the few remnants of the town of Melvin. You can find the cemetery on the east side of Parker Road just north of Orchard Road in Aurora. It's a fenced-in area in a parking lot, next to a TGI Friday's and a Chick-fil-A. The fence is kept locked. Melvin was founded in the early 1900s. There are few markers remaining, many were stolen. Some of the greves were moved to other area cemeteries. The most prominent marker remaining is the monument placed in appreciation to the 1,662 people who donated their bodies to medical research. The marker was placed by the State Anatomical Board when the cremated remains of these people were buried at the site.

Another ghost town cemetery is part of Jefferson County Open Space, and was the burial grounds for the town of Mount Vernon. It's a short hike from the parking lot up the hill to the cemetery. Only a few markers remain, but, the view from their final resting place is lovely. Expect future articles on other ghost town cemeteries in Colorado in this newsletter and at http://www.colorado-cemeteries.com.

Around the Web

The record snow falls on the east coast have put a bit of a delay in funerals until the cemeteries are able to find the gravesites under the large amounts of snow.

The expansion of Chicago's O'Hare airport, which will impact a historic cemetery, has been ordered to stop temporarily, while the matter is considered further.

Cemetery preservtionists work to return stolen artifacts to cemeteries.

A bill regarding the final disposition of soldiers in the military has gained the support of Utah funeral directors.

The African-American cemetery found in Manhattan is preparing to open a visitor's center.

A "vacant" lot reveals itself as a forgotten cemetery.

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