Riverside Cemetery was constructed in 1876. The cemetery is located along the South Platte River with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. It was built with beautiful landscaping, to encourage visitors to stay awhile. It serves as Denver’s primary resting place for many key figures in Colorado history. Grave sites include Colorado Governors, Denver Mayors, U.S Senators, pioneers, a former slave, early day African American leaders, poets, Civil War Veterans, and much more.
Backstory and Context
This is the oldest operating cemetery. It was opened in 1876. It was named Riverside because it is located next the South Platte River. This cemetery replaced the City Cemetery in Denver. It was placed outside the city at the end of a trolley line. Many founding citizens of Denver are buried here.
The cemetery sits on 77 acres. It was constructed to be a beautiful site. The cemetery features shrubbery, landscaping, and intricate monuments. It is a peaceful place where families could go and picnic, while visiting their deceased.
It houses 67,000 grave sites. Many of the stones are markers for figures that founded Colorado. Grave sites include Colorado Governors, Denver Mayors, U.S Senators, pioneers, a former slave, early day African American leaders, poets, Civil War Veterans, and much more.
“Two of the most-visited graves belong to Augusta Tabor, divorced wife of mining millionaire Horace Tabor; and Capt. Silas Soule, a member of the First Colorado Calvary who refused to participate in Col. John Chivington’s attack on Indians at Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado.”
In 1900 this cemetery was purchased by Fairmount Cemetery. Riverside was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Riverside is considered Denvers oldest operating cemetery. It laid its final person to rest in 2005. The cemetery was listed on 2011 Colorado’s Most Endangered List. 30+ trains pass on tracks right nearby. This is attributing to decay of the grave stones.
- Kreck, Dick. Historic Riverside Cemetery embodies Denver’s past, The Denver Post. August 2nd 2013. Accessed June 30th 2020. https://www.denverpost.com/2013/08/02/historic-riverside-cemetery-embodies-denvers-past/.
- Riverside Cemetary, History of Colorado. Accessed June 30th 2020. https://www.historycolorado.org/location/riverside-cemetery.
- These 12 Colorado places are in danger of being lost forever, Denver Channel 7. Accessed July 2nd 2020. https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/photos-these-12-colorado-places-are-in-danger.
- Vickie. Welcome to Historic Riverside, Riverside Cemetery - Denver. December 13th 2017. Accessed July 2nd 2020. https://www.riversidecemeterydenver.com/.
- Boneill, James. Riverside Cemetery, Atlas Obscura. Accessed July 2nd 2020. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/riverside-cemetery.
The Denver Post