Hebrew Cemetery Information
In 1880, the Hebrew Benevolent Association established the Hebrew Cemetery in the southwest corner of Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery.
The Temple Israel Foundation acquired the title to the Hebrew Cemetery in 1993, ending a long period of neglect. Since 1996, the Denver chapter of B’nai B’rith has led volunteer efforts each June to restore, maintain the grounds, and replace markers. The cemetery has been consecrated, a new section opened, and burials resumed again in 2001.
Hebrew Cemetery Hours
The Hebrew Cemetery is always open to the public and the road as far as the entrance is generally plowed during the winter.
The Hebrew Cemetery is located at the southwest corner of the much larger Evergreen Cemetery. After passing through the main entrance of the Evergreen Cemetery at the north end of James Street, turn left immediately and follow the dirt road beyond the other sections to the white fence and black arch of the Hebrew Cemetery.
The Temple Israel Foundation acquired ownership of the Hebrew Cemetery during June, 1993, through a Quiet Title suit. The boundaries of the cemetery are larger than the fenced area shown which allows for future development.
The original area of the cemetery was arranged as rectangular Blocks A through D. The blocks were laid out in double rows and further subdivided into lots and graves. The lots are 20 feet square containing 8 graves, each 5 feet by 10 feet. In 2001, a new Block E along the east fence was platted for modern burials. The entire new block was excavated and refilled to be certain that no unmarked graves were hidden in the area. Refer to the New Burials Page for information about the availability of plots.
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.
(Griswold, p.382, The Chronicle, October 22, 1879)
The committee from the Hebrew Benevolent Association held a meeting last evening [October 21] at the office of Joseph Samuels, and Messrs. B. Loeb and Jacobs were appointed to select a suitable site for a cemetery. These gentlemen entered upon the duties today and are inspecting vacant plats in different portions of the suburbs.
They require about four acres and desire to find it as near the city as possible, that the transit to and from may not be impeded by snow in the winter. The proposed burial ground is intended for Jews in general and will be owned and controlled by the Hebrew Benevolent Association recently organized in this city. [With the establishment of Evergreen Cemetery, the association secured acreage in it.]
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