Are there still burial spaces open at Fairmount?
Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado is the area’s second oldest cemetery. Many natives have stories they tell of their own personal experiences here- from learning to drive (not recommended), to telling ghost stories about the people buried here, to the serene scenery and wildlife. So it’s no wonder people think Fairmount Cemetery is “full”. The truth is, the multi-acre property has built several new areas, and even opened areas previously unavailable. What does this mean for you?
Spaces open at Fairmount
Block 81 is a historical area of Fairmount that has recently redesigned, creating more space. This means you or your loved one can become part of Colorado’s rich history by being interred beside pioneers. Historians, archivists, reenactors, teachers, military, politicians, philanthropists and more can be found among the headstones from as far back as the late 1800’s. Imagine future visitors hearing the stories, not only of Denver’s founders, but also those who loved this great city and chose to be buried with its historical figures.
In additional to burial spaces open at Fairmount, they continue to create beautiful gardens and terraces designed for family and friends to visit and enjoy the peaceful park-like setting Fairmount is known for.
When was the last time you visited Fairmount?
You may be surprised just how much Fairmount has changed over the years. And, they want you to visit. Do you know about these spaces open at Fairmount?
The Mausoleum. Featuring the state’s largest collection of private stained glass as well as prominent Colorado founding families, the mausoleum is a sight to see. Think of the color “RED” as you discover the red velvet chairs in the chapel, hear the story of the Bonfils (think blood), and even find the person behind the Red Baron.
Lower Ivy Terrace Mausoleums. Brand new to accommodate the request for additional space, these modern outdoor mausoleums incorporate designs from the other buildings on Fairmount to create a historical fusion.
If you haven’t been to Fairmount in a while, we invite you to come explore once again. Learn about the lives of those here, take a tour of the new areas, explore the trees and flowers on your own and talk with a friendly pre-planning specialist to discover spaces open at Fairmount allowing you to become part of Denver’s beautiful history.
In Block 35, along the east of Fairmount is the beautiful Nisei Memorial. During World War II many people from the west coast of Japanese ancestry were interned in detention camps, including Camp Amache, in southeastern Colorado. Many of those who were born in the U.S. of Japanese immigrants (Nisei) volunteered for U.S. Army service. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team comprised of these Nisei was the most decorated unit in the Army for its size and duration of action in World War II. This memorial was erected in 1963. It lists the names of soldiers of Japanese ancestry who were killed in combat as well as the names of those who were later killed in Korea or Viet Nam.
One of those memorialized is Private First Class Kiyoshi Muranaga, who was posthumously awarded
the Medal of Honor. His citation reads, in part: “… Muranaga distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 26 June, 1944, near Suverto, Italy.” His mortar squad was pinned down by a German 88mm gun, and all except he withdrew; he manned the mortar himself and fired at the enemy. When the Germans saw where the fire was coming from they fired back, killing him instantly, but then they abandoned their position. … Private Muranaga’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service….” (Read the full citation here). Kiyoshi Muranaga is buried in California.Near this memorial, in the northeast corner of Block 34, are the graves of many Nisei veterans who survived the war and settled in Colorado, including three soldiers of the 442 Regimental Combat Team:
Photo of PVT 1 CL Muranaga courtesy of 442nd Regimental Combat Team Historical Society; for more information about the 442nd visit:
Dr. Joseph Henry Peter Westbrook was a prominent Denver physician and African American civil rights leader. Born in 1878 in Mississippi, he graduated from Fisk College and Meharry Medical College in Nashville.
In 1907 he came to Denver and started his medical practice.
A doctor and pharmacy owner in Denver for 35 years, he became Assistant City Physician and was on the staff of Denver General Hospital for 17 years. Deeply involved in several fraternal organizations, he was Grand Chancellor of a lodge of the Knights of Pythias, on officer in a local Elks Lodge, and a Masonic Grand Master who was instrumental in building a new Masonic Hall in the Five Points area. An active entrepreneur, Dr. Westbrook helped incorporate the Denver Independent newspaper and served on the Denver Chamber of Commerce. He was an officer of the city’s Interracial Commission and was on the Board of Directors of a branch of the YMCA. He was a Sunday school superintendent and important member of the NAACP. He lived in a modest house in Five Points with his wife Adela.
From the 1860s most African Americans voted Republican because that was the “Party of Lincoln,” the party that had freed the slaves. But by the early 1900s many black people were becoming disillusioned with the Republicans and were seeking reconciliation with the Democratic Party.
Westbrook was one of these dissatisfied voters, and he went so far as to form the “National Negro Anti-Taft League” when William Howard Taft became the Republican presidential candidate in 1908. Prior to that year’s Democratic National Convention, which was held in Denver, he led a delegation to the Resolutions Committee of the Democratic Party seeking to have a civil rights plank placed on the Democratic national platform. This request was denied, however, and Taft won the election.
After this black enthusiasm for the Democratic Party decreased again for a number of years, and in 1924 Westbrook was selected to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention that nominated Calvin Coolidge as its presidential candidate.
He was one of the original stakeholders in an African American agricultural colony that was formed near Greeley in 1910. In fact it was Dr. Westbrook who came up with the name of the colony; it was named Dearfield, for he said that the farm fields there would “be very dear to us.”
Dr. Joseph H.P. Westbrook is perhaps best known to history for being a light-skinned African American who “passed as a white man” to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan. At great risk to his life, he used his Klan membership to learn of the hate group’s upcoming activities and warn the black community.
In August 1939 he addressed the opening of a conference at the Shorter African Community Church. When he finished he took his seat and suddenly died of a heart attack. He was 61 years old. The headline in the Denver Statesman was, “Dr. J.H.P. Westbrook, Scholar, Civic Builder, Race Factor, and Fraternalist Suddenly Passes.” He is buried at Fairmount Cemetery not far from the Gate Lodge in Block B.
By Garry O’Hara
Frances Wisebart Jacobs (1843-1892) has been called Colorado’s “Mother of Charities.” Born in Kentucky, she married Abraham Jacobs and came with him to Colorado in 1862. Abraham and Frances’ brother opened a clothing store in Central City. When fire destroyed their shop, they moved to Denver and opened a new store. Frances and Abraham had three children, one of whom died in childhood.
Always deeply concerned with the well-being of poor and sick people, Frances became President of the Hebrew Ladies’ Benevolent Society. Her calling in life soon became caring for the growing number of Jewish immigrants coming to the Denver area with tuberculosis. (Then called consumption, “TB” was the nation’s major fatal disease at the time; many “lungers” came to the high and dry air of Colorado as a cure for the disease.) Frances regularly visited the squalid shacks of consumptives, many of whom were poor Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. She brought them medicines and bandaged their wounds, even though they carried many diseases and lived in high-crime areas. She quickly realized that others besides Jewish immigrants needed her services, so in 1874 she helped found the non-denominational Ladies’ Relief Society with herself as vice-president. She was called upon to address many groups and discovered that she was an excellent public speaker. Frances became the spokesperson for many of Denver’s charities. In 1887, through her efforts and those of four religious leaders from other faiths, several of Denver’s charity groups were consolidated under the Charity Organization Society (COS). The interfaith COS soon became the fundraising organization for 23 charities, and Frances was its secretary. By 1922 the COS evolved into the Community Chest, and many credit it with eventually becoming the United Way.
Frances organized the Denver Free Kindergarten Association and opened Denver’s first free kindergarten for the children of indigent parents.
In 1892 she worked with the Jewish Hospital Association to start a free hospital for tuberculosis patients in Denver. It was named the Frances Jacobs Hospital for Consumptives. However, she died of pneumonia less than a month before the hospital was to be dedicated; she was only 49 years old. The institution eventually became National Jewish Hospital, and it is still at its original location at Colfax Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. A sculpture of Ms. Jacobs still graces the entrance to hospital, which did not charge fees for most services until many years later.
In 1900 sixteen Colorado pioneers were chosen to have stained glass windows of their likenesses displayed in the state capitol rotunda; Frances was one of these, and she was the only woman to be chosen. A city park at Quebec Street and Tennessee Avenue was named for her, and in 1994 she was installed in The National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. She was buried in the Emmanuel Cemetery, the Jewish burial area just west of the main part of Fairmount Cemetery.
According to the National Jewish Hospital website, “No one ever did more to create Colorado’s humanitarian healthcare tradition than Frances Wisebart Jacobs.”
By Garry O’Hara