Day Trippin' from Denver: Cemetery Visits
If you, like me, are based in Denver, there are a wide variety of cemetery trips you can make in a single day trip from the city.
Here are a few of my favorite quick trips, easily accomplished in a day.
Some of my favorite cemeteries are located just west of Denver, all within easy day trip range.
Silver Plume, Clear Creek County
Drive west on I-70 to Silver Plume. Go under the highway, and follow the climbing dirt road that goes behind the Silver Plume station of the Georgetown Loop. The road will basically end in the cemetery, which is on the left.
The site (actually named "Pine Grove"), is surprisingly, and deceptively, large. It is divided into sections, in terraces following the hill. There are sections for Knights of Pythias, the Oddfellows, and the Order of Redmen, as well as for Catholic and Methodist sections. For persons not belonging to one of the fraternal societies, or affiliated with a specific religion, there is a town section.
The burial ground is very much a naturalistic setting, and while each section is fenced, as are several family plots, trees and bushes hide markers located up and down the hillside. It's one of my favorite in Colorado.
If you're interested in a hike, a lone grave, that of Clifford Griffin, is marked by a distinctive obelisk on the opposite side of I-70 from Pine Grove cemetery (you can spot it on the top of the rock face on the north side of the highway). To get up to the monument, head to the end of Silver Street in Silver Plume, and go about a mile and half from the base of Brown Gulch.
Central City, Gilpin County
I've always been amazed at the size of the cemeteries for such small towns, a symbol, perhaps, of how dangerous these mining towns were. Beyond the occupation of mining itself, the impromptu nature of these towns, with hastily built structures and little planning, problems such as disease and fire could take their tool. Gregory Gulch was especially susceptible to fire, which decimated Central City and Black Hawk just before 1900.
Central City itself has six cemeteries, five of which are located at the end of Eureka Street. You can spend a day just in this location. Between Central City, Nevadaville, and Black Hawk, there are eight cemeteries, all located within a few miles of each other.
Not to be missed is the Walter cabin, marking the Walter family plot in the Rocky Mountain IOOF #2 cemetery, which is on the left side of Eureka street.
Now, if you don't spend too much time in any one site, you can actually go to Silver Plume, Georgetown and Central City all in one day. I've done it, and it can be a really nice way to see many different burial grounds at once.
Colorado Springs, El Paso County
If you're heading South, I recommend visiting Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs. This is the pioneer burial ground for Colorado Springs. It covers a large area, and was once noted as the "largest rose garden in the world." It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Pueblo, Pueblo County
The Pueblo Pioneer Cemetery is a great example for cemeteries in general. The local historical society has set our signs next to the markers of historically prominent town figures, with information on each person's contribution to the city. You can find the site at 22nd and Elizabeth.
The largest burial ground in Pueblo is Roselawn, and it is home to the most elaborate monuments in Pueblo. It is on the east side of the city, on Aspen street off of Highway 50.
These are all good ideas for a day trip. If you'd like to plan a longer trip, I recommend going to http://www.roadtripteam.com/
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