Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pioneer Cemetery and Park

            There are times when the tricks are humorous and sometimes not.  Saw a post on facebook while back about and old cemetery in Colorado Springs.  It looked interesting, so I did some looking.  Found it on satellite view and it looked similar to the picture I had seen.  So I said to self, Got to go have a look at this old Cemetery.  So self put it on the list of things to do when visiting Colorado Springs. 

            I took the time one day on a trip to the Springs to go looking for this place.  It was not easy, down dead end streets and around backwards corners but finally arrived.  I drive up an alley like it showed on the earth view and it was a loop.  There was no cemetery to be seen.  Hum, so I drove around, turned down another street and on the other side, still saw no grave markers. 
            I was a pretty little neighborhood park, nice homes and a tremendous view of the mountains over there.  Still nothing that looked like a cemetery.  Over there was a monument and on it was a variety of name and dates.  Well groomed and cleaned inside a small circled stone wall.   Couple of benches and Pikes Peak was the background.  Besides me the park was empty, even the passing car was not passing.  A young couple showed up and spread a blanket out on the unimproved portion of the park for a mid day moment. 
            Well, humbug, said to self.  Wandered around and took a couple of pictures.  Went back to the car and went down the road. 
            Getting home, I did some more looking about the graveyard.  Found an interesting story about the graveyard and I as I read I began to chuckle at myself.  The graves were there all along, in the unimproved section, all the markers had been removed. 
            During the Great Depression, the WPA was doing a project there and removed all of the headstones.  When work was completed, the markers were not replaced.  I would guess that in secret location there is a storage lot full of head stones. 

            The original cemetery was called Mesa Cemetery and was for the people of Old Colorado City. Nearby is a large Masons complex of buildings and apparently some Masons were buried there also.     After the debacle with the WPA workers, the Masons went and exhumed their members and re-interred them in another resting place.    The cemetery was forgotten for a few years until some people started asking some questions.  They went to the park and did some looking and underground survey work and located at least 100 coffins still resting there underground. 
Outside of the park monument, there is no indication that there is a cemetery in Pioneer Park. 

If the head stones are located, how would the markers be matched to the grave sites.  Now that would be a puzzle to solve.  
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