If you like Colorado history, gravestone architecture and walking above thousands of dead bodies at night, then Riverside Cemetery has a deal for you! Starting tomorrow and continuing through October 27, the cemetery will be offering its annual Moonlight History and Mystery Tour. Then on Monday, October 29, Riverside will host its Moonlight Euphoria photo shoot, where all levels of photographers can photograph the cemetery under a full moon.
While these events are sure to send chills up the spines of nervous types, Patricia Carmody, executive director of the Fairmount Heritage Foundation, urges amateur ghost hunters to leave the Mystery Machines parked at home. "I see people come in here with their meters and I can hear a lot of laughter in the background," Carmody says. "I'm in here all the time. I have never had anything but a very peaceful experience."
Founded in 1876, Riverside is Denver's oldest cemetery. It spans 77 acres and harbors over 67,000 of this city's deceased. Veterans from nearly every major American war are buried at Riverside, including between 1,200 and 1,400 soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
Lester Drake's famous gravestone, complete with limestone animal droppings in the back
Prominent Coloradans who now permanently reside at Riverside include the state's first governor, John Evans; Clara Brown, a former slave who became a business leader in Central City; and early black entrepreneur and civil rights activist Barney Ford.
For a period in the early 1900s, Riverside also had the only operating crematorium between St. Louis to San Francisco. Though it's now defunct, visitors can still peer inside the brick walls lined with white ash. According to Riverside lore, the first person to ever be cremated at the cemetery weighed over 400 pounds.
The Moonlight History and Mystery Tour will be offered October 19, 20, 21, 26 and 27, while the Moonlight Euphoria photo shoot is only October 29. Advance registration is required for both events; to to fairmountheritagefoundation.org.
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