Custer County, Colorado

NOTICE All data and photos on this website are Copyrighted by Karen Mitchell. Duplication of this data or photos is strictly forbidden without legal written permission by the Copyright holder. Contributed by Karen Mitchell.

San Isabel View Cemetery Hillside, Colorado

Assumption Catholic Cemetery, Silver Cliff, Colorado

Hope Lutheran Cemetery Westcliff, Colorado.

Rosita Cemetery Rosita, Colorado

Silver Cliff Cemetery Silver Cliff, Colorado

Small Family Cemeteries and Cremations

The Pines Cemetery aka Cusack Cemetery

Ula Cemetery Ula, Colorado

Wet Mountain Tribune 5-22-2003 - History is Alive and Well at Area Cemeteries - As Americans remember their fallen heroes on Memorial Day, many families also set aside time to remember loved ones who have passed on. A visit to the cemetery where soldiers or other loved ones are buried to decorate the graves is one tradition of remembrance. Scattered around Custer County are numerous cemeteries dating back to the mid-1800s. Exploring the cemeteries -- even if no loved ones are buried there -- can be an adventure, with the headstones marking each grave telling brief stories of people who once lived here.

North of Westcliffe in Hillside is the Hillside cemetery. The cemetery's name was recently changed to San Isabel View cemetery when research revealed another Hillside cemetery that predates the local graveyard. There are approximately 330 graves at the cemetery, many of which hold the remains of Civil War veterans. The oldest grave dates back to the mid 1800s. Burial records for the San Isabel View cemetery are in the care of Rod Carpenter, 942-4253.

Cemeteries in Silver Cliff are the Catholic cemetery and the Silver Cliff town cemetery, both located off Mill Street. The Catholic cemetery recorded its first death in 1881, and the first official use of its name was in 1909. Burial records are housed at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 109 S. Fifth St., Westcliffe. Silver Cliff's town cemetery encompasses 10 acres and includes 1,576 burial plots. More than 600 graves are at the cemetery, with the earliest dating back to 1880. For those interested in observing more than headstones, the Silver Cliff cemetery is famous for blue lights seen flickering over the graves on overcast nights. The first reported sighting of the lights was in 1882. An article published by "National Geographic" magazine 100 years after the first sighting in the 1980s, carried the story of the lights outside of the Valley. While speculations about what the lights are range from wandering spirits to town lights reflecting off low clouds, no scientific explanation has been offered for their cause. Burial records and other information for the Silver Cliff cemetery are stored at the town hall, 612 Main in Silver Cliff.

The Wet Mountain Valley also is home to two cemeteries: Hope Lutheran cemetery and Ula cemetery. Hope Lutheran cemetery, located off Colony Road south of Westcliffe, has graves dating back to 1872. One of the early-day Lutheran churches was located next to the cemetery but it was razed when the present-day Hope Lutheran Church was built in Westcliffe in 1917. Many of the headstones are written in German script, a reminder of the German families who were among the first settlers in the Valley. And although Silver Cliff's cemetery boasts about strange flickering lights, the Lutheran cemetery has its own story that reveals the meaning of the name: Wet Mountain Valley. According to the story, the Lutheran cemetery was originally located elsewhere on the Valley floor but the water table was so high it was almost impossible to bury people there. When the cemetery was finally moved to its current location on higher ground, one of the coffins was so full of water it was too heavy to lift.The Lutheran cemetery's burial records are in the care of Harold Godbersen, who has been the graveyard's caretaker for years. Reach Godbersen at 783-2247.

Ula cemetery is located northwest of Westcliffe off the Pines Road (County Road 170). Land for the cemetery was donated in 1872 and again in 2000 by the Kettle family who were among the Valley's earliest settlers. The cemetery now has 516 lots with two grave sites on each. Memorials and gifts help pay for upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery.

The Pines, a private cemetery with the graves of the Cusack family, is also near Westcliffe. The cemetery is located west of the historic Pines Ranch; its records are kept by Kay Jensen, of Fowler, Colo., a descendant of the Cusack family who were among the early English settlers here.

Rosita cemetery, located on Rosita Road, has more than 650 graves, with the earliest dating back to 1873. Among the notables buried in the Rosita cemetery is Carl Wulsten, the leader of the original German colony that settled here, and George Beardsley, who opened the Valley's first bank. Jackie Hobby, a member of the Rosita Cemetery Association, described the graveyard as "a very sad cemetery because there are a lot of children buried there who died during the early 1900s" from cholera, the flu and other epidemics. Hobby said there are also many unmarked graves in the cemetery. She asked that anyone who may be descendants of people buried in unmarked graves at the cemetery contact her at 783-2339. Burial records for the cemetery also are available by contacting Hobby.

New Hope Cemetery is located northeast of Wetmore off County Road 295. The cemetery's caretaker, Burl Stearns, said it is one of Colorado's oldest Baptist cemeteries, with graves dating back to 1878. Complete burial records for the Valley's cemeteries are also available at the library in Westcliffe.

Please e-mail comments and suggestions to Karen Mitchell

© Karen Mitchell