As Leadville grew explosively during the late 1870s, people quickly realized the need for ample interment acreage and satisfied that need with the establishment of the Evergreen Cemetery in 1879. The Jewish community first required space after the passing of Gustave "Fred" Jelenko in June, 1879. He was settled into the newly established Hebrew Cemetery the following January (he had been buried first in Kokomo on nearby Fremont Pass and then moved to the Hebrew Cemetery), which at the time contained about 101,000 square feet (now approximately 88,000 square feet) in the southwest corner of Evergreen Cemetery.
During the ensuing decades, the Hebrew Cemetery came to serve as the resting place for 132 souls, including the last "old time" Jewish Leadville native, Minette Miller (born 1894 and died 1981). Only 59 original markers remain and the locations of 12 people have been lost over time. This was the sad result of a long period of neglect which ended in the 1990s with the creation of the Temple Israel Foundation and its subsequent acquisition of the cemetery through a Quiet Title action in June 1993.
Since taking ownership of the cemetery grounds, significant volunteer efforts, led by the Denver chapter of B'nai B'rith, have cleared the site of heavy overgrowth, constructed an encircling fence, contributed an entry arch, grave markers, monuments, and culminated in the re-consecration of the cemetery in August, 1999. The replacement of missing markers was completed in 2004.
The cemetery experienced its first “modern” interment in December, 2001, in the then new Block E. With the continuing support of B’nai B’rith and many volunteers during the annual June clean up, the Temple Israel Foundation has been able to maintain and operate the historic Hebrew Cemetery.
Newspaper Accounts of Establishing the Hebrew Cemetery