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Mount Calvary Cemetery
Denver, Denver County, Colorado
August 9, 2016
Total records: 1,000 (approx)
Mount Calvary Cemetery is no longer in existence. What stands there now is Cheesman Park and the Denver Botanical Gradens.
Mount Calvary Cemetery was the Roman Catholic section of Prospect Hill Cemetery, which opened in 1858. Prospect Hill Cemetery had several sections leased out to fraternal organizations and religious groups, including the Roman Catholic Diocese.
In 1872, the U.S. Government determined that the property upon which the cemetery sat was actually federal land, having been deeded to the government in 1860 by a treaty with the Arapaho. The government then offered the land to the City of Denver who purchased it for $200. Although today it is still mostly remembered as Mt. Prospect Cemetery, in 1873 the city changed the name to Denver City Cemetery.
By the 1880s, the cemetery fell into great disrepair. Groups responsible for maintaining their sections neglected them. Colorado Senator Henry Moore Teller persuaded U.S. Congress to allow the old graveyard to be converted to a park. On January 25, 1890, Congress authorized the city to vacate Mt. Prospect Cemetery and in recognition, Teller renamed the area Congress Park.
Families were given 90 days to remove the bodies of their loved ones to other locations. Those who could afford this began to transfer bodies to other cemeteries throughout the city and elsewhere. Due to the large number of graves in the Roman Catholic section off to the east, Mayor Joseph E. Bates sold the 40-acre (160,000 m2) area to the Diocese, which was then named Mount Calvary Cemetery.
The last burial in Mount Calvary was in 1908. In 1891 the Diocese opened Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge. Many of the bodies from Mount Calvary were removed there. In 1950 the remaining 8,600 bodies were removed to Mount Olivet. The Diocese then sold Mount Calvary Cemetery back to the City.
Documents linked below are PDF files obtained from the Denver Public Library. They includes date of burial, name of deceased, age, location of burial and some additional information.
Cemetery Lot Purchases, 1889-1893 (21 pages, 84.3 KB)