The Hebrew Cemetery, Leadville, Colorado

Entrance to the Hebrew Cemetery, Leadville

As Leadville grew explosively during the late 1870s it quickly realized and satisfied a need for ample interment acreage.  The Jewish community first required space with the passing of Gustave "Fred" Jelenko during June of 1879.  He was settled into the southwest corner of the newly established Evergreen Cemetery by the following January, 1880, (he may first have been buried in and then moved from Kokomo on nearby Fremont Pass) at which time title to about 101,000 square feet of that southwest corner had been transferred to the Hebrew Benevolent Association to hold the mortal remains of the pioneer Jews of Leadville.

During the ensuing decades, the Hebrew Cemetery came to serve as the resting place for some 132 souls (now 138), including the last "old time" Jewish Leadville native-Minette Miller (born 1894, died 1981).  Only 59 original markers remain and the locations of 12 people have been lost.  This is the sad result of a long period of neglect which ended only in the late 1980s with the creation of the Temple Israel Foundation and its subsequent acquisition of the cemetery through a quiet title action during June, 1993.

Since taking control of the cemetery grounds very significant volunteer efforts, led by the Denver chapter of B'nai B'rith, have cleared much of the site from heavy overgrowth, constructed an encircling fence, contributed an entry arch and a monument, and culminated in the reconsecration of the cemetery in August, 1999.  The replacement of missing markers was completed in 2004.  The cemetery experienced its most recent interment during December, 2001, in an area devoted to renewed demand which now contains available plots.  Current endeavors include a computer mapping of cemetery (beware: long download) and the continuation of annual volunteer cleanups every June.

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