Next year, 2015, marks the 150th Anniversary of end of the Civil War. We learned much about our country and that awful war on a recent trip to Georgia and South Carolina. Inspired, we wondered about Denver’s Civil War connection. A visit to historic Riverside Cemetery provided a glimpse…
Arriving by bike using the Platte River Greenway is surprisingly difficult given that the property borders the trail; unfortunately a locked gate next to the trail forces the curious to enter from the east side off of Brighton Boulevard. The safest way is to exit the bike trail at Franklin Street, then take Race Court to Brighton Boulevard. This is a heavily trafficked industrial road, with 18 wheelers roaring by, and active railroad tracks to cross so be careful! Beware of the goat’s head thorn plants growing all around the grounds! Learn what they look like to avoid getting a flat tire. Otherwise, there are decent gravel paths throughout that make this hallowed place a pleasant cycling destination.
Once in the cemetery, western views of the mountains, nearby wetlands and the Platte River make it quite serene. You almost forget the industrial yards to the east and north. There is a majesty and deep sense of history that is impactful. Eloquent messages engraved on granite and brass memorials transport you back to another time… Many list children who died too young. Even after 150 years, it leaves the visitor heartbroken.
Beautiful, poetic, tragic and heroic. Denver’s early settlers faced great hardships and heartbreak, but they were strong and determined. Their grit laid the foundation upon which downtown’s towers to the south were built.
A large section is devoted to American veterans and casualties of wars long ago; Civil War, Spanish-American War, the War to End All Wars, WWII… A statue dedicated to a young Union soldier was erected with messages of love from his parents. You can sense their loss, and pride.
Riverside is a treasure for our community, and is also an active burial ground. Mourners of lost loved ones are likely among the other visitors you’ll encounter. Tread lightly and visit respectfully.
Learn more about Riverside’s long storied history and how you can help preserve this gem at http://friendsofriversidecemetery.org/ Riverside Cemetery is located at 5201 Brighton Blvd., Denver.