A highlight for Colorado genealogists is the cemetery in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The town was founded in 1859 by prospectors during the early days of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush and it was at the center of the region’s mining district throughout the late nineteenth century.
The current Idaho Springs Cemetery was established in 1874 about one mile south of Idaho Springs. This cemetery replaced the original 1860s graveyard located in the town. Remains from the original site were relocated to the new cemetery.
After having their first cemetery washed out by a flood, citizens set their second cemetery on a hill so steep that, in places, stairs have been built into the hillside for descendants to reach the family plot.
Many of the plots are shored up with stone work or concrete, and some of the walls are splitting as the forces of nature push everything downhill toward the creek. Walking through this cemetery one gains an appreciation for the early grave diggers who must have had to work hard to keep the dirt from rolling back into the grave.
One of the most unique and interesting old graveyards in the area, it takes at least half a day to explore the grounds of Idaho Springs, as one headstone will lead you right into the final resting place of another. The range of gravestones is impressive, and there are some examples of work here that are not seen anywhere else in the mountain cemeteries of Colorado.
Filled with both the old and the new, the cemetery spans quite a distance. From I-70, turn away from town and you’ll find the cemetery less than a mile up Skyline Drive.
The town of Idaho Springs also has much to commend it, as it there a number of historic buildings, mining artifacts, trains and a unique water wheel.