is one of Denver's oldest cemeteries. It is a handsome old graveyard.
and has a fairly large amount of attractive funerary sculpture. It also has a connection
with one of victorian Denver's great scandals.
In 1858 the city's main cemetery was Mount Prospect. That name did not stay with the graveyard long, though. It soon became City Cemetery.
Unfortunately, by the 1890's, it was right in the middle of prime real-estate. The mansions of Denver's upper echelons were all around the cemetery, and it was deemed unsightly and in need of a new locale. The original site was to become a city park.
The city issued a statement that concerned family members should have their dead reinterred elsewhere within 90 days. Some people heeded this, and had their loved ones reburied. However, when the time was up, there were still some 5000 unclaimed bodies.
The task of moving these forgotten souls was awarded to E.F McGovern; the contract the city made with him specifying each body would be dug up and placed in a new casket; but the box was to be 31/2 feet long by 1 foot wide. The coffins were to be delivered to Riverside Cemetery.
Things started out in an orderly fashion, but as more caskets were dug up, the workers got progressively more careless. They broke open the coffins with shovels, and if the bodies were not decayed enough to fit in the little caskets, they broke them up and placed them in, haphazardly.
It was discovered that there was a discrepancy between the boxes delivered to Riverside, and the number of reburials charged to the city by McGovern. The mayor and the health commissioner stopped the work and began an investigation. Sadly, this meant that there were graves left unfilled, and all the remaining bodies were abandoned too.
In 1907 the plan for a City Park was realized, and what was once City Cemetery, became Cheesman Park. However, nobody ever did move the forgotten dead. They are still there, resting unmourned under the gazebo, paths and trees.
And every now and then, someone sinks in the grass-discovering one of these lonely plots.