Denver cemeteries have had a somewhat storied history. The first cemetery, Mt. Prospect (also known as the City Cemetery) was chosen by William Larimer in 1865. Inauspiciously, many of the early burials were criminals, and within a few years, the cemetery was an unsightly, disreputable place, and most people with any means preferred the new Riverside Cemetery.
Riverside Cemetery was established in 1876, and was designed to be a lovely park-like cemetery like many cemeteries in the east.
Riverside Cemetery is Denver's pioneer cemetery, but, through a strange quirk of an ever-changing city, only Riverside's office is located in Denver. The cemetery itself is actually in Adams County.
Fairmount Cemetery, established in 1890, became Riverside Cemetery's main competitor for prime resting spots. By 1900, Fairmount acquired Riverside, and has owned Riverside Cemetery ever since. While Fairmount no longer sells burial lots in Riverside, burials are still occurring for purchasers of lots sold prior to 2005.
Riverside Cemetery was recently named one of Colorado's most endangered historic places. An ongoing preservation and awareness campaign is being organized by the Friends of Historic Riverside Cemetery.
Riverside Cemetery is not only the final resting place for many of Colorado's founders, it is a treasure of cemetery art.
When the City Cemetery was closed in 1893, many of the bodies were moved to Riverside, Fairmount and Mt. Olivet Cemetery (Jefferson County). Only about half of the remaining bodies were moved, the rest still remain buried in what is now known as Cheesman Park.
Another cemetery in the county is the eighth largest national cemetery in the country. Fort Logan National Cemetery was once Fort Sheridan, a military outpost established in 1887. The Fort was renamed in 1889, in part due to General John A. Logan's General Order #11, which established "Decoration Day," today known as Memorial Day.
Loretto Heights Cemetery, a small private cemetery on the grounds of Teikyo University, is the resting place for about fifty sisters of Loretto, who began the college in 1875. This is not an active cemetery.
The "youngest" resting place in the county is the "All Souls Walk," established in 1966 for the parishioners of St. John's Episcopal Cathedral. It is a lovely area in the heart of the city.
This brings the total of active Denver cemeteries to five.
Besides the ill-fated Mount Prospect Cemetery, the county has a handful of abandoned cemeteries. Included in this list are the Masonic Cemetery, also called Acacia Cemetery, abandoned in about 1870, Regis College Cemetery and Lowry Field Cemetery.
Map of Denver Cemeteries
Return to Main Cemetery Page