Ute Cemetery was established in 1880 by early settlers to the area when a prospector died along the way to the Roaring Fork Valley. The cemetery was used as a burial ground primarily for working-class residents of Aspen, many of whom were single men far from home. The cemetery is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Until the Great Depression, Ute
Cemetery was the primary resting place for Aspen’s pioneers and working-class
residents. The cemetery began in 1880 when a prospector died along the way to
the Roaring Fork Valley. At that time, Aspen was a tiny settlement and there
was no established burial ground. The man’s fellow miners buried him at the
base of the Aspen Mountain, and for the next six decades, Ute Cemetery became
the final resting place for working-class Aspenites.
Unlike later cemeteries, which
were planned and well-organized, the graves at Ute Cemetery are haphazard;
there are no rows and graves were randomly placed based on available ground.
For many years, the cemetery didn’t even have a name.
The cemetery was regularly used
until 1940; after that point, only two people were buried there, and the
cemetery suffered from severe neglect for many years. The city was largely
abandoned and overgrown until 2002, when the city of Aspen began to look into
restoring the cemetery. Historians and preservationists identified 175 marked
graves. Vegetation was cleared from the site and an interpretive trail was
developed to introduce visitors to the site’s history. The cemetery is listed
on the National Register of Historic Places.