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Mount Pisgah Cemetery

Cripple Creek

Cut-off Date: May 2006
Names: 1,700+
Volunteers: Nancy Abrahams, Ellen Chestnutt, Don Erickson, Les Heinemann, Marjorie Kline, Ardelle Koperski, Jim Laushine, Shirley Maresko, Linda Vixie, Jan and Rusty Winters
Special Thanks: City of Cripple Creek, Teller County Assessor's Office, Jan Collins, Cripple Creek District Museum

In 1890, gold was found in the Cripple Creek region, and soon the district's population swelled to more than 30,000. Land for this 40-acre public cemetery was donated on March 21, 1895, by Horace W. Bennett and Julius A. Myers of Denver to the Mount Pisgah Cemetery Association. It's said they considered the hilly tract unsuitable for pasture or residential use and thus unsalable. They did retain mineral rights but noted that any mining would be done "without injury to the surface." The earliest marked burial is that of James Gozad, who died May 11, 1892, so the land was in use as a cemetery before 1895.

The cemetery is located on the eastern slope of Mount Pisgah, overlooking Cripple Creek to the east. From Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek (the main street), drive to the west end and turn right at B Street. Turn left at Carr Avenue and drive approximately one-half mile. The cemetery entrance is on the left. According to GPS-derived geolocation (accurate to within 10 meters), the cemetery's coordinates are 3844'56.2"N and 10511'39.4"W.

The cemetery is landscaped with natural grasses, flowers, wild rose and raspberry bushes, and aspen trees. Fraternal organizations, including Eagles, Elks, Masons, and the Improved Order of Redmen, have fenced locations for their members. The veterans section includes graves of 38 Civil War veterans moved in the 1920s or 1930s from the original GAR Cemetery near Victor when gold was discovered there. The names of some of the veterans were lost during the move, hence the markers for unknown soldiers. Several Spanish-American War veterans and one Confederate soldier are also buried here. The decorative archway entrance to the cemetery was created by Cripple Creek native James L. "Butch" Ward. A welder and iron worker, Ward also created the entrances to the Sunnyside Cemetery at Victor and the Fourmile Cemetery.

Visitors to this historic cemetery are common. Popular graves include those of Old Homestead madam Pearl DeVere and Dr. Susan Anderson, pioneer doctor of Cripple Creek and Grand County on whom the TV character Dr. Quinn is said to be based. Even the grave of a horse attracts visitors who know about it. In 1895, the cemetery was platted and a map remains in the courthouse, but it doesn't closely resemble the current layout and any original burial records have been lost. In 1994, the City of Cripple Creek contracted with Dr. Charlene Porsild for an inventory of the cemetery. She laid out a grid and numbered the graves sequentially in the lower (eastern) half of the cemetery and did an alphabetical name inventory of the upper (western) half. Porsild estimated that approximately 4,000 graves are unmarked. A 1979 survey shows the fenced area is about 29.9 acres.

Mount Pisgah was previously transcribed and published in Residents of the Mount Pisgah Cemetery by Miralyn S. Keske (Victor, Colo.: Keske Publishing Co., 1989) and Teller County, Colorado, Church and Cemetery Records by Carol Loudermilk-Edwards (Westminster, Colo.: Carol Loudermilk-Edwards, 1983). The PPGS database was compared to the Keske and Porsild transcriptions and all discrepancies were checked. Additionally, Kathi MacIver's 1999 book Mt. Pisgah Cemetery features color photos of many historic and decorative markers in the cemetery. In 2002 she released a full index to the cemetery with nice section maps: Mount Pisgah: A Complete Guide to Cripple Creek's Historic Burial Grounds ($27.50). Both are available from the author at P.O. Box 1950, Cripple Creek, CO 80813.

The cemetery is maintained by the City of Cripple Creek Historical Preservation Department, P.O. Box 430, Cripple Creek, CO 80813; phone: (719) 689-3588. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m during the summer and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter. Tours of the cemetery are offered through Cripple Creek Ghost Walk Tours, (719) 689-9113, and Cripple Creek Historic Tours, (719) 689-3324. Self-guided tour materials are available at the Cripple Creek Welcome Center.

In 2008 the City of Cripple Creek implemented a new system for locating graves within the cemetery. The numbering system consists of three letters: R (row), B (block), and P (plot), each followed by a number. The Cripple Creek District Museum is currently working with the City to post the 28 maps identifying the new system within Mount Pisgah Cemetery online. This CD has included this platting system with information on new burials we've received from the City of Cripple Creek. If those seeking graves identified with these numbers have trouble, please contact Kathy Stockton at the City of Cripple Creek Historic Preservation Department at kstockton@cripple-creek.co.us.

Mount Pisgah Cemetery data (by plot)

Mount Pisgah Cemetery map

Mount Pisgah Cemetery 1895 plat

Register of the Dead, 1898-1949, St. Peter's Catholic Church, Cripple Creek

Cripple Creek Mining District Mortuary Books, 1910-1974

2005 Newspaper Profile of Mount Pisgah Cemetery Caretaker Art Tremayne

Mount Pisgah Cemetery Layout

Blocks A through F were designated by the Porsild inventory, and PPGS volunteers assigned the markers' row and plot numbers. Blocks G through T, with row and plot numbers, were designated by PPGS volunteers; roads were used as boundaries. The other sections are fenced and PPGS volunteers assigned row and plot numbers to facilitate finding the markers.

Rows run north and south and increase to the west (e.g., row 2 is to the west of row 1).

Block
A   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
B   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
C   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
D   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
E   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
F   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
G   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
H   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
I   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
J   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
K   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
L   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
M   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
N   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
P   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
Q   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
R   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
S   Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
T   Row 1 begins at the NE corner of the block and goes south
ANX Elks Annex                Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
ELK Elks section              Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
FOE Fraternal Order of Eagles Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
MAS Masonic section           Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
POT Potter's Field            Only one fenced marker remains in Potter's Field
RED Improved Order of Redmen  Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north
VET Veterans section          Row 1 begins at the SE corner of the block and goes north