Locating the burial place of your ancestors in the Denver area may prove challenging due to certain factors. The earliest cemeteries, Mount Prospect and Acacia, have been relocated and their records are no longer available. Furthermore, death records in Denver were not required until 1900 and were not consistently recorded until about 1925.
Mount Prospect, which was the first organized cemetery in Denver, was located on an Arapahoe Indian burial ground, now known as Cheesman Park. William Larimer and William Clancey selected the site during the winter of 1858-1859, and the Kansas Territorial Legislature granted a charter on February 27, 1860. The cemetery was eventually divided into sections for different burials such as Roman Catholic, Jewish, Masonic and Improved Order of Odd Fellows, paupers, Chinese, and members of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War Union veterans’ organization. In 1872, the City of Denver applied to Congress for title to the land, and on November 15, 1873, Denver gained ownership and Mount Prospect became City Cemetery. Riverside Cemetery was opened in 1876, leading to a decline in burials in City Cemetery. In 1890, Congress granted permission for Denver to use the land for a park, and in 1893, burials were ordered to stop, with 788 bodies removed to Riverside Cemetery. The Denver Park Commission notified families that they had 90 days to remove their loved ones’ remains, and after that time, no more bodies would be removed as the entire area would be planted in grass. Today, approximately 4200 bodies from City Cemetery remain buried beneath the sod of Cheesman Park.
Mount Calvary was the Roman Catholic section of Mount Prospect and later City Cemetery. In 1890, Congress granted permission for Denver to use the cemetery lands for a park, but the Diocese of Denver secured an injunction preventing enforcement of the order against their property. The last burial in Mount Calvary was in 1908. In 1891, Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge opened, and many of the bodies from Mount Calvary were removed there. In 1950, the remaining 8,600 bodies were also removed to Mt. Olivet. Today, the site is occupied by the Denver Botanic Gardens.
The Jewish section was known as Hebrew Burying and Prayer Ground. The local Jewish congregations did not hold title to their section and were unable to prevent the cemetery’s closure. In 1896, the Hebrew Cemetery Association purchased a section known as Emanuel in Riverside Cemetery, and in 1911, Congregation Emanuel purchased 15 acres within Fairmount Cemetery, also known as Emanuel. In 1923, the Jewish Cemetery Committee reported that removals from the Hebrew Burying and Prayer Ground had been completed.
Acacia Cemetery, situated in the town of Highland between what is now 29th and 32nd Avenues and Tejon and Zuni Streets, was acquired in 1866 by Union Masonic Lodge No. 7, Denver Masonic Lodge No. 5, and Denver Chapter No. 12, Royal Arch Masons. The cemetery opened in May 1867, and lots were sold. The southwest quarter of the tract was sold to the Improved Order of Odd Fellows, I.O.O.F. The cemetery was operational until the late 1870s when the bodies were removed to City Cemetery. In 1872, sections for the Masons and Odd Fellows were designated in City Cemetery. In 1893, the bodies were relocated again, this time to Riverside Cemetery. In 1881, the entire tract of Acacia Cemetery was sold to George Tritch, who filed a plat under the name of the “Union Addition” in the City of Denver.
List of Denver Cemeteries
The following list of Denver cemeteries includes their address and date of establishment.
Arvada Cemetery, 1889
5581 Independence St., Arvada, CO 80002
Chapel Hill Cemetery – Olinger, 1951
6601 S. Colorado Blvd.
Littleton, CO 80121
Crown Hill Cemetery – Olinger, 1907
7777 W. 29th Ave.
Wheat Ridge, CO 80215
Eastlawn Cemetery – Olinger, 1959
19600 Smith Road
Aurora, CO 80231
Fairmount Cemetery, 1890
430 S. Quebec St.
Denver, CO 80231
Fort Logan National Cemetery, 1889
3698 S. Sheridan Blvd, Denver, CO 80235
Golden Cemetery, 1873
Highway 6th and Ulysses, Golden, CO 80401
Golden Hill Cemetery (Jewish), 1908
12000 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood, CO 80215
Hampden Cemetery – Olinger, 1963
8600 E. Hampden Ave., Denver, CO 80231
Highland Cemetery – Olinger, 1951
10201 North Grant St., Thornton, CO 80233
Littleton Cemetery, 1864
6155 S. Prince, Littleton, CO 80120
Mount Lindo Cemetery – Olinger, 1963
5928 South Turk, Creek Road, Morrison, CO 80465
Mount Nebo Cemetery (Jewish), 1902
11658 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80010
Mount Olivet Cemetery (Catholic), 1891
12801 West 44th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Riverside Cemetery, 1876
5201 Brighton Blvd., Denver, CO 80216
Rose Hill Cemetery (Jewish), 1892
6841 E. 62 Ave., Commerce City, CO 80022