Arapahoe County Cemeteries
Arapahoe County Cemeteries are some of the oldest in the state, as the county is the oldest in Colorado. Created in 1855 by the Kansas Territorial government, it predates the Colorado territory by 6 years.
When the gold rush began in 1858, the people who were in the area figured mining was too far from the territorial governments of either Kansas or Nebraska, so they and petitioned to form their own territory. While never federally sanctioned, the Territory of Jefferson was formed, and with it, 12 new counties emerged with Denver City as the county seat of the re-formed Arapahoe County.
In 1901, a plan to split the large county was approved, and it was broken into 3 parts; the city and county of Denver, Adams, and South Arapahoe. The "South" was later dropped. Littleton was, and continues to be, the county seat.
There are eight Arapahoe County cemeteries.
One of the most peculiar is the Melvin-Lewis Cemetery. It is a small cemetery, surrounded by the parking and restaurants in the middle of a shopping center. It is flanked by a Chic-fil-a and a TGI Friday's.
In addition to its strange surroundings, the cemetery is the resting place of the cremated remains of about 1600 people who donated their bodies to the State Anatomical Board for medical research. While their are no individual markers for these generous souls, there is a marker acknowledging their gift.
In the town of Deer Trail, the Evergreen Cemetery has a small office near the entrance. On the north side of the building is a map of the cemetery, as well as an index of names. The cemetery is well-maintained.
One of the strangest characters in Colorado's history is laid to rest in the Littleton Cemetery, a lovely burial place on a hill overlooking Santa Fe drive. Alfred Packer, known as the "Colorado Cannibal" is buried near a large pine tree on the eastern border. A military marker is present.
Packer and his small party were bound for Gunnison, when they became lost and snowbound in the mountains. Packer claimed that he'd left the others to scout, and when he returned found that a member of the party had murdered the others and had proceeded to roast the remains. According to his story, the man rushed him with a hatchet, and Packer shot him in self defense.
Packer admitted that he did eat some of the remains, but that he had not killed his companions. Few believed his story, and he was sent to prison.
Two abandoned cemeteries in the county include the Jolly Family Cemetery, and the Running Creek Cemetery.
Map of Arapahoe County Cemeteries
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