By: Amy Hutcheson
Coimetromania: An abnormal attraction to and desire to visit cemeteries.
For this, I will start in my home town of Loveland, Colorado.
Loveland Burial Park and Lakeside Cemetery date back to the 1800’s, and are rich in early Larimer County pioneering family history. The 47-acre site consists of two facilities: Loveland Burial Park and Lakeside Cemetery. The two facilities are physically divided by Colorado State Highway 287. To my knowledge this is the only cemetery in America to have a highway running through the middle of it and rumor has it that only the grave stones were moved when the highway was installed and that the stretch of highway running through the center is cursed by the souls of the dead still trapped beneath it.
Green Mountain Cemetery
The 60-acre memorial park was originally part of a 160-acre section of land purchased by John C. Fisher in 1874. In 1890 the land was returned to the City of Boulder due to unpaid takes and was chosen as the site for a home for indigent persons, which was known as the Poor Farm. This building still stands at 635 22nd street. In 1904 a local real estate developer purchased the property and set aside about 40-acres of land on the southern side to become the city’s cemetery. Green Mountain Cemetery is one of the most beautiful and scenic burial grounds I have visited to date.
Elmwood Cemetery is in Brighton, Colorado and hosts an annual cemetery walk during October that celebrates the city’s rich history of various city leaders, farmers, pioneers and soldiers buried in the cemetery. Stories include many of the city’s past residents including Martin Bromley, Francis Clodfelter and country singer Jenny Lou Carson.
The 77-acre grounds of Riverside Cemetery is home of more than 67,000 people buried there, including 1,000 veterans. Established in 1876, Riverside is Denver, Colorado's oldest operating cemetery. The historic cemetery lies on the east bank of the South Platte River and is approximately four miles downstream from downtown Denver.
These burial grounds in Denver, Colorado were founded in 1890 and are Denver's second oldest operating cemetery after Riverside Cemetery. It was designed by German landscape architect Reinhard Schuetze. The cemetery is 280 acres with over 3,800 trees and 3 official historic landmarks. The Little Ivy Chapel and the Gate Lodge were both constructed in 1890, the year the cemetery opened, and were designed by architect Henry Ten Eyck Wendell. The Fairmount Mausoleum was constructed in 1929 and opened in 1930. It was designed by architects Frederick E. Mountjoy and Francis W. Frewan.
This private cemetery located above Blackhawk and Central City, Colorado, is hidden safely atop a hill overlooking the legendary cities in Gilpin county. Surrounded by barbed wire fence and flanked by a shed-like structure baring the masonic emblem, this burial ground is tucked neatly away next to a wooded area, just a short hike off a dirt road. Established in the 1860s when the gold rush brought hundreds of hopeful miners to the Colorado hills, the Mason Cemetery of Gilpin county has a reputation of being one of the most haunted in the area. Popular on local ghost tours the land is rumored to be haunted by a little boy who likes to follow visitors around and the mysterious “Lady in Black” who reportedly shows up twice a year to lay flowers on the grave of her lover.
Knights of Pythias Cemetery – Central City, Colorado
The Knights of Pythias are a fraternal organization and secret society founded in Washington, D.C. in 1864. The cemetery is located just a few miles above Central City and Blackhawk and referred to as the Central City Cemetery and is one of several cemeteries in the area dating back to the great gold rush of the 1800’s. This particular cemetery is marked by a large iron gate stating the name of the organization and sporting a lovely skeleton key lock that has never been locked when I have come to visit. A popular spot for ghost hunters, this historic cemetery is one of the few open to the public even after dark. Several supernatural tales exist about these grounds including the tale of a woman who was determined to be a witch by her peers. The legend states that if you stand just a few yards from her grave, a green mist will surround the area. And if the lighting is right, hundreds of maggots will cover the ground. Besides the supernatural happenings of the area, the monuments and headstones of the grounds have been subject to vandalism over time. One of these stones was that of Fred Rowe, buried in 1914. Sometime in the 20th century, grave robbers broke off and stole the top half of his headstone. In 2013 a sanitation worker spotted the stone in his truck load and rescued it, eventually returning it to its rightful place in the Knights of Pythias Cemetery.
Established in 1873, the first burial was 9-year-old Elizabeth Iowa Hetzer. Located in Roosevelt National Forest, approximately 8,500 feet above sea level and about half a mile from the Peak to Peak Highway. Nederland Cemetery is home to 313 known graves. In 1895, the headstones and coffins were relocated here from the town's other cemetery, built in 1875. That cemetery was closed to make room for highway development. Many of the graves in this cemetery are those of children. A sign of the times, traveling and living in the Rocky Mountains during the 1800’s was hard and many souls passed on during their first years of life.
Evergreen Cemetery -- Dear Trail, Colorado
Evergreen Cemetery is located on a scenic hilltop about a quarter mile east of the town of Dear Trail, Colorado in Arapahoe County. The cemetery was established on November 11, 1875 at the same time as the town of Dear Trail, on a plot of land that was already being used for burials. Approximately 753 headstones are visible with names or parts of names. The oldest grave is of Leonard A. Stanley who died February 8th, 1876, at the age of 27 years. Many graves in the older section on the north and east sides have no markers. Several graves have markers with no names, some with rock or stone markers from the area. When we visited the grounds during the summer of 2014 the cemetery was well maintained.
Lone Tree Cemetery -- Telluride, Colorado
Lone Tree Cemetery is located at the base of a natural alluvial fan and was established in 1877 during the mining boom of the 1800’s. Like many mountain towns, the original burial plot was in a different location, west of the current town and it is believed that many graves were moved to the current location after the establishment of the town. The first person buried in the Lone Tree Cemetery was two-year-old Edwin Andrus, son of George S. Andrus who also donated the land that the cemetery is located on. Telluride's mining-boom was a brutal time, when avalanches, flu epidemics, mining accidents and labor strikes took many lives. Miners referred to an avalanche as “The White Death” and the perils of the miner’s lifestyle are apparent in the many monuments and headstones from the time period, adorned with symbols of the miners and multinational inhabitants of Telluride, Colorado.
Topeka State Hospital and Cemetery
Location: 66606 Topeka, Kansas
The Topeka Kansas State Hospital and Cemetery, location listed as Topeka, Kansas 66606, was one of the most chilling locations I have ever visited. In the early 1900s, there were stories of patients being abused, neglected, and raped here. Patients were often left confined or chained for long periods of time, strapped into chairs for so long that their skin started to grow around the leather straps on their wrists. In 1913, Kansas passed legislation allowing the forced sterilization of the mentally ill and undesirables. Over 50 sterilizations were performed at Topeka State Hospital over the next seven years. Many of these surgeries where performed in unsanitary conditions and later would lead to death by infection and disease. Topeka State Hospital was officially closed on May 17th 1997. With most of the buildings demolished, all that remains of this once vast hospital for the mentally ill is a grave yard with only 16 head stones and a large stone monument listing the more than 1150 people who lost their lives at Topeka State Hospital during its tragic and horrific history.
Hollywood Cemetery -- Richmond, Virginia
The Hollywood Cemetery was built around 1850 and was named for the Holly trees that grow wild in the area. The cemetery has several popular ghost stories attached to it. Rumors of strange sounds, a cast-iron dog statue that guards a child's grave that has been reported to move and change positions and the legend of the Richmond Vampire. The cemetery is also home to many famous presidents and the largest number of Confederate soldiers interred in a single cemetery.
Oakland Cemetery -- Iowa City, Iowa
Oakland Cemetery is home to a strange black angel statue that has long been connected to the supernatural. The eight-and-a-half-foot tall burial monument was erected for the Feldevert family in 1912. Sculpted by Mario Korbel, several superstitions and rumors exist about this ominous statue. Stories of a family curse, certain death, infidelity and even miscarriage are associated with this dark and eerie figure. The Black Angel of Death.
Athens Cemeteries at the Ridges -- Athens, Ohio
Still owned by the state Department of Mental Health, very few of the gravestones feature names. The larger stones with names and ornamentation engraved are patients with relatives who went to the expense of having a stone put in. If you died a ward of the state, they gave you a small stone with your patient number on it and nothing else. Hospital records tell who each number belonged to and several of the unmarked stones are accompanied by metal veterans' plaques. There are a lot of Civil War veterans in the Ridges graveyard and due to missing records, the identities of the male patients with numbers 1 through 63 are lost to history. Male #64 and Female #1 were both interred in 1880. In total, there were roughly two thousand people laid to rest in the Athens State Hospital burial grounds before 1972, when the burials ended with Female #847 and Male #1117. Ohio University also buried the cadavers used in its medical classes here, but we do not know if they were assigned numbers.
Serpent Mound -- Peebles, Ohio
The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot-long, three-foot-high prehistoric effigy mound on a plateau of the Serpent Mound crater along Ohio Brush Creek. A designated National Historic Landmark, the Serpent Mound of Ohio was first reported from surveys by Ephraim Squire and Edwin Davis in their historic volume ‘Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley’, published in 1848 by the then newly founded Smithsonian Museum. The Serpent Mound is the largest serpent effigy in the world and contained three burial mounds with human remains dating the site at around 300 BCE, suggesting Adena construction.