Monday, April 7, 2014

Riverside Cemetery // Denver, Colorado

I've been itching to visit Riverside Cemetery for months, and yesterday my wish finally came true! Founded in 1876, Riverside is the oldest cemetery in Denver and serves as the final resting place for many of the state's pioneers and founders. Located just outside of downtown in the industrial part of the city, Riverside is sadly considered one of the most endangered places in Denver and has faced a host of problems in the past decade. Riverside is surrounded by smokestacks, train tracks and factory buildings in almost every direction, providing a pretty dismal background for such a beautiful place. After losing its water rights in 2001, the cemetery did away with planting turf and trees, and has transitioned to become a sustainable cemetery covered only in native trees and ground cover.

Zack and I spent the morning wandering around, checking out most of the 77 acre cemetery. Riverside is beautifully diverse, with headstones, monuments and mausoleums in dozens of languages representing countless cultures. Fun Fact: Riverside Cemetery is also home to the largest collection of zinc monuments in the country! My favorite was probably the the Jesus and Mary monument featured at the top of this post, though I was also rather partial to Lester Drake's log cabin marker, which you'll see in the photos below. The weather forecast called for rain all day, but we lucked out and caught about an hour of sunshine before the storm clouds rolled in, giving a pretty ominous feel to the final set of photos I took before it started to rain and we called it a day.

If you're interested in learning more about Riverside Cemetery, I highly suggest checking out The Riverside Scout, a blog dedicated to sharing the history of some of the cemetery's more notable residents. The Friends of Historic Riverside Cemetery is another fabulous resource, and I'm definitely hoping to volunteer with the organization this summer if my schedule allows.
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