On a recent trip to find the Leadville Cemetery, I was told by local historians that a football field had been built over the cemetery (apparently the local joke is that you never know if your great-great-grandmother is buried on the 50-yard line!). The only evidence a cemetery ever existed is a plaque by the field that indicates such. The football field is at the end of Chesnut Street, which is referenced in the article below.
The following is from the Lake County Public Library Website:
ORIGINAL LEADVILLE CEMETERY
November 1877 – November 1879
The Leadville Cemetery was, and still is, located at the far western end of Chestnut Street, a little distance from what was then the Leadville smelting company's works. It consisted of an acre plot of ground, unfenced, and with the earth thrown up into mounds. Many of these heaps were marked by pieces of boards, slabs and sticks. Two or three had marble slabs and as many more were marked by pine boards painted to imitate marble. Cattle ran over the graves nightly, causing the Sexton much extra labor and annoyance. The Rio Grande railroad crews laid track over a number of graves when they brought the train into Leadville in 1880. That same year, residents of the neighborhood complained loudly about the aroma, which emanated from the sunken graves. "In short, there was nothing about the Leadville Cemetery to make a well man want to die."
The first interment was that of Capt. Sullivan Breece on the 17th day of November 1877. Vincent Kreig, Leadville's first undertaker and gravedigger, was also the first Sexton of the Leadville Cemetery. He kept no records of any kind on those buried and when he died on February 28, 1879, he took all of his personal knowledge of the matter with him. The second Sexton, Harry Talhurst, waited until the spring of 1879 to begin keeping a record of burials and in but few instances was he able to learn the age or birth place, and in some instances no one could give him the name of the person buried. Even Mr. Talhurst's incomplete listing has been lost or destroyed during the past decades.
The Leadville Cemetery was abandoned when Evergreen Cemetery was opened in November of 1879, and there is no longer any physical evidence that it ever existed. The following listing has been compiled from two newspaper articles and data contained in the Evergreen Cemetery Register. It is incomplete, of course, and possible inaccurate in some instances. It is however, the only compilation of information on the original Leadville Cemetery. We wish that it could have been a complete tally of everyone who died during the two years that it encompasses.
Historical Research Cooperative
GPS Coordinates: 39.24234, -106.30351
- Added: 4 Jul 2010
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2360743
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