Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mt. Pisgah Cemetery Visit, Cripple Creek CO

Pisgah in Hebrew means "summit" or "peak". In translation, pisgah lost its meaning and became a mountain's proper name instead of being a term describing a mountaintop. Thus the term refers to a geographic region; a collection of mountain summits.

The wrought iron gates here, similar to Victor's Sunnyside, is filled with mining tools and symbols.

Dominating the front of the cemetery is the Veteran's Memorial

The newest installation are memorial markers with 18 names on a side, year by year, for fallen soldiers with ties to the area who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. With fewer than 1500 residents between Cripple Creek and Victor, that's a lot of names. 

We started our tour at the back of the cemetery, working our way forward. 

Like Victor, the cemetery does not try to upkeep a "lawn" and allows the native mountain grasses and flowers to spring up as they will. The costs of watering in this climate would be exorbitant and silly and the many tombstone fences would make mowing an impossibility.

The back is also "up" and the furthermost tombstone has a spectacular view:

Interestingly, Find a Grave has no record of Polly Madsen Kraycirik, Texan, being buried here, but I did find her obituary:

And the missing Find a Grave entry has now been remedied.

Looking back down the hill towards Cripple Creek, one of many of the late 19th and early 20th century Woodmen of the World monuments decorates the hillside.

Elim T. Clark, died August 9, 1901, Aged 34 Years, 9 months, and 9 days

Melville Acorn, died July 16, 1905, Aged 26 Years
Alexander Corder, died July 23, 1899, Aged 28 Years

One of the Woodmen  markers I missed photographing was that of Alexander McLean, whose funeral procession through Cripple Creek is documented in the Denver Public Library's collection here.

It was McLean's death as one of 13 men killed by a terrorist hired by the union that swung opinion against the Western Federation of Miners. Read more here.

Women, however, were never afforded the trees that the male Woodmen were. Jennie E. Roberts' (1878 - 1903) stone is indicative of the markers allowed to wives of the Woodmen. 

And a decade later: 

Hettie Minster 1859 - 1913

The cemetery is teeming with children, some clearly marked by fencing to understand the tiny size of their coffins.

Mary Hellen Anderson "Our Darling" May 24, 1896 - July 19, 1896

I wasn't quick enough, but as I was taking the photo above, I was startled to see something pop up from the loose vault shaped cover of these children's graves. All over the cemetery are burrows for . . .some type of Sciuridae? They aren't as big as prairie dogs but are bigger than chipmunks and don't behave like park squirrels. Anyway, whatever they are, one was popping up to peek at me and then zipped away down underground with all the coffins.

This one puzzled me, not only because there is a single space and marker for three people, but the dates are odd, as well. Okay, that and the Astroturf on a grave for people dead over a century.

Janet Phillips 1836 - 1908 had to bury her son (possibly grandson?) first, 
Peter Phillips 1873 - 1902, aged 28 Years, 4 Months, 22 Days

The Bielz plot, in which an Aspen  hogs the center. The two stones at the front, with just enough rooms for urns are Bert and Norma Bielz' markers, who died in 1999 and 2003, respectively. The large stone at the back is their son, age 28, Jay, who pre-deceased them in 1979, and the smallest stone is their first born son, Ronnie who died at the age of 5 (1949 - 1954).

Great tree-bench! Now the tree needs to get big enough for shade.

The fenced off military section for the Grand Army of the Republic, men who belonged to an Order made up of Union Soldiers from the Civil War. Their orignal resting place was some 6 miles away until gold was discovered and out they had to go. They were moved to Mt. Pisgah but moved haphazardly, so that markers went missing and many bodies are now unidentified.

The cemetery meanders, including little dirt roads off into trees where the odd headstone pops up.

I will say, if you're in the market for a cemetery fence, Stewart Iron Works makes ones that last! Many of these were surrounding grave markers from the late 1890s. 
Stewart Iron Works is an American ironworks plant in Covington, Kentucky. It is the city's oldest manufacturing firm and at its peak was the largest iron fence maker in the world. Stewart's is the second-oldest iron company in continuous operation in the United States. Based at 20 West 18th Street, its first location was at 8th & Madison. Owned by the Stewart Iron Works Co., Inc., it was established by the Scottish American Stewart family. The company was founded in 1886 and incorporated in 1910.
Manufacturing materials for prison construction, Stewart marketed to jails using salesmen who were all engineers. As an iron supplier to many major American institutions, Stewart's supplied gates and fences for the Panama Canal, the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Taft Museum, as well as the entrance gates to the White House, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, and the U.S. House of Representatives,The steel cell blocks manufactured in the 1930s for Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary and Sing Sing were made by Stewart. At one time, the company supplied the majority of the U.S.'s cemetery fences and gates.

There's one! See him?  

Looking back toward Cripple Creek and the Gold Mine
All of the road signs are named after famous mines in the area.

Towards the front of the cemetery are the larger gated areas for the various fraternal organizations. If we're keeping count, it appears the Elks win this round, with not only their main section squeezed full, but also an annex!


One section that was not represented in Victor was the T.O.T.E, aka the Improved Order of Redmen, who are all white guys, of course, and trace their lineage all the way back to the Boston Tea Party. It counts among its members Teddy Roosevelt and F.D.R.. Some 1300 "tribes" on record donated to the organization's orphans fund in 1911.

There is an event in September of this year that I'd like to get to in which some of the more famous members of the cemetery are "brought to life" in a history lesson called Mt. Pisgah Speaks

We also missed some of the graves (and none of us saw any brochures!) featured here


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