Hebrew Cemetery Information
In 1880, the Hebrew Benevolent Association established the Hebrew Cemetery in the southwest corner of Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery. When the town’s overall population began to decline in 1893, burials at the cemetery dwindled.
The Temple Israel Foundation acquired the title to the cemetery in 1993, ending a long period of neglect. Since 1994, the Denver chapter of B’nai B’rith has led volunteer efforts each June to maintain the grounds and replace markers. Since then, the cemetery was reconsecrated and began holding Jewish burials again in 2001.
Hebrew Cemetery Hours
Like most cemeteries, the Evergreen Cemetery and the Hebrew Cemetery do not have hours. However, please note that winters in Leadville can be heavy and might making visiting the cemetery difficult either from heavy snow, ice, or loose mud. Sometimes even a heavy rain can make the roads muddy and rutty.
The Hebrew Cemetery is located in the southwest corner of the broader Evergreen Cemetery. Go to the main entrance of the Evergreen Cemetery at the north end of James Street. After you go through the two columns, take an immediate left and take the dirt road that follows the fence all the way back until you get to the white fence and arch of the Hebrew Cemetery. If you think you missed it, you didn't go far enough!
The Temple Israel Foundation gained title of the Hebrew Cemetery in June 1993 through Quiet Title action. The original boundaries of the cemetery are larger than the fenced area shown allowing for future enlarging of the fenced area, as needed, to establish future new sections of burial plots.
The original part of the cemetery is set up as blocks of A, B, C, and D. They were basically set up as double rows and divided into plots and graves. Each plot is 20'x20' (and numbered) with 8 graves, each 5'x10' and numbered, plenty of room for a burial and a grave marker.
Sections A and B were not entirely filled of historical burials which allowed for the Foundation in 2001 to create a new Block E along the east fence for modern burials. The entire new block E was excavated and refilled to be certain that no unmarked graves were hidden in the area.
Currently, some of the Block E plots have interments, while other plots are claimed. Many plots are still available. Go to the New Burials Page for more information about obtaining a burial plot.
As Leadville grew explosively during the late 1870s, people quickly realized a need for ample interment acreage and satisfied that need with the establishment of the Evergreen Cemetery in 1879. The Jewish community first required space with the passing of Gustave "Fred" Jelenko in June 1879. He was settled into the southwest corner of the newly established Evergreen Cemetery by the following January 1880, (he could have been buried first in Kokomo on nearby Fremont Pass and then later moved to the Hebrew Cemetery), which at the time titled to about 101,000 square feet of the southwest corner of Evergreen Cemetery and transferred to the Hebrew Benevolent Association for holding the mortal remains of the pioneer Jews of Leadville.
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 were lost over time. This was the sad result of a long period of neglect which ended in the late 1980s 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 much of the heavy overgrowth, constructed an encircling fence, contributed an entry arch and 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 in December 2001, in a new area devoted to renewed demand for internments called Block E. Current endeavors included a computer mapping of the cemetery and the continuing efforts of annual volunteers to cleanup the cemetery every June.
(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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