For a few weeks I’ve been blogging about Evergreen, Colorado, a small mountain town near Denver I visited with my friend Laura. In addition to the posts about the town, I also wrote about Hiwan Heritage Park and Hiwan Homestead Museum. So if you haven’t seen those, check out the links.
Our final stop in the area that day was the Evergreen Memorial Park, which is a local cemetery. I was a little skeptical about visiting there, but seeing this view on arrival changed my mind:
The park is a hundred-acre plot owned by Ron and Carol Lewis since 1965. They committed the land as a tribute to the pioneers of the area and the Old West in general. Most of the hundred acres is reserved as a private ranch, with wild animals such as coyotes, foxes, elk, deer, muskrats and all manner of fowl.
Behind me as I took the above photo was the barn, which includes a chapel and very large gathering room. The barn is a combination of five old barns, all between 70 and 100 years old. The stained glass is antique, too:
There is a funeral home and crematory located here, with the offices in a different nearby building. Funerals, memorials and life celebrations are held here. Along the barn’s walls you could see small mausoleum-like niches:
That day it was closed so we didn’t get a chance to go in, but I was quite satisfied with the grounds. I’m one who loves to roam a cemetery, and this one was very pastoral, quiet and peaceful. Several small structures that looked like log cabins populated the grounds, along with seating and actual mining and pioneer artifacts collected by the owners over the years:
You can see the beautiful lake (reservoir) in the above photo – the barn is to the right of that “cabin”. Beyond the lake looked to be a very large (maybe hunting) lodge, and signs on the fencing claimed the property to be a private game ranch. It must be where the animal preserve part of the Lewis’ property is.
The “cabins” turned out to be columbaria (above-ground mausoleums):
In fact, the cabins were actual preserved historic buildings, too. The grounds are divided up into four adjacent areas – one is a pet cemetery. I kept thinking that I couldn’t imagine a nicer place to be laid to rest!
Behind the barn and next to the lake rose an old mine shaft entrance and a rusting bucket next to a little mine car:
Laura had added the cemetery to her destinations list because the flyers and website claim that there are white buffalo on the property. Supposedly there is a herd of buffalo and a few are white, which had/has an important spiritual meaning for native peoples here. Well, we didn’t see any buffalo that day, white or otherwise, but perhaps the biggest treat of the visit for me was this herd of yaks! Yaks!
The Evergreen Memorial Park sits just outside Evergreen to the southeast. Of course, the funeral home office has regular hours (check the website link), but you can visit the park any time between dawn and dusk.
Photo for No Apparent Reason: