The History of Roselawn Cemetery
Roselawn Funeral Home Cemetery & Crematory is located on the eastern edge of the community. Sitting on a 150-acre parcel of land, it maintains a silent vigil over the final resting place of 62,000 souls.
The 129-year old landmark was founded in 1891 as Riverview Cemetery by a group of Pueblo businessmen headed by Mahlon D. Thatcher. The property was originally platted on 350 acres stretching from its present location, north to the Arkansas River, as a for-profit cemetery.
A wealth of information regarding Roselawn’s history was unlocked in 2018 when John Korber submitted the story titled, Aunt Eliza Boone, published in our book, The Hearts & Souls of Roselawn.
The original plan was that the people of privilege were to be buried on the bluff overlooking the Arkansas River; however, due to the panic of 1893, Riverview Cemetery was not able to meet their land payments to the Colorado Coal & Iron Company. As a result, all the land north of the existing northern boundary was forfeited and reduced to the current boundaries.
Research of burial records revealed that Aunt Eliza, the former slave of the Daniel Boone family, had been laid to rest in an unmarked grave in 1893 at the age of 105. Her final resting place was in Block 12 which is located at the present day – front of the cemetery. However, in 1893 this was the back of the cemetery. Additional research revealed that 600 plus African Americans had been laid to rest in the same general area where Aunt Eliza’s grave was located. Many are in unmarked graves. This area was regarded as the back of the back of the cemetery until the forfeiting of the land occurred and boundaries were redrawn.
In 1905 Riverview was restructured from a for-profit cemetery to a non-profit cemetery association and its name was changed to Roselawn Cemetery. The reformed property consisted of 100 endowed acres and another 35 acres of farm property set aside for future growth. That remains the location footprint to the present-day.
Photo courtesy of Denver Public Library Western History Photographic Collections