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Columbia Cemetery

Columbia Cemetery

About Columbia Cemetery

Situated on 10.5 acres at Ninth and Pleasant Streets, the cemetery is a virtual "Who's Who" of early Boulder--a historic, cultural, and artistic resource containing the remains of many of our city's founders and pioneers.

Nearly 6,500 persons are interred in Columbia Cemetery. The gravestones are not simply inanimate markers of granite, marble, sandstone, or metal--they are narratives that reveal provocative clues about who we were, how we lived and died, what shaped our values, attitudes, and traditions. The epitaphs, engravings, and decorations provide insight into the minds and hearts of the hardy pioneers that have helped to make Boulder and Colorado what they are today.We invite you to browse the various links below to enhance your understanding and appreciation of Boulder's historic pioneer cemetery.

If These Stones Could Talk: Tales from Columbia Cemetery now available!

A new book about Columbia Cemetery history includes information on its "residents," grave markers, symbolism, and preservation efforts. "If These Stones Could Talk: Tales from Columbia Cemetery" by Mary Reilly-McNellan, Lise Cook Cordsen, Judith Gould Dayhoff and Barbara Walsh Myers has been published by Johnson Books, and is available at the Boulder Bookstore and on Amazon. The book costs $21.95. Proceeds will benefit Columbia Cemetery preservation efforts.

Columbia Cemetery Upgrades/Enhancements

This project includes improvements to address critical deficiencies at Columbia Cemetery by rehabilitating headstones, constructing perimeter fencing, installing an efficient irrigation system and installing underground sheet piling along the north side of Anderson Ditch to prevent ditch water from seeping into the cemetery. This project is critical to maintain existing valued park and cultural resources and improve water conservation efforts as part of the Columbia Cemetery Historic Landmark Site. More information will be posted when it is available.

Upgrade/Enhancement Schedule

  • Rehabilitating Headstones: Ongoing Project through 2015
  • Perimeter Fencing along Western Property Line: Complete
  • Irrigation System: Install to Begin mid-Sept
  • Sheet Piling: Complete

Irrigation System Installation

Using funding from the 2011 Capital Improvement Bond that was approved by Boulder voters, the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department will begin work on the placement of an underground sprinkler system in Columbia Cemetery in early September, 2013.  This will replace the current antiquated and time-intensive above ground watering system, which requires hooking up hoses to various sprinkler heads and manually moving them throughout the day to irrigate the grounds during the summer months.  An underground irrigation system can be much more easily controlled and regulated, ensuring more precise and consistent watering.

City Parks staff, Forestry staff, and Munding Design, LLC, have determined what are believed to be the best routes for the irrigation lines, most of which will follow existing internal Cemetery roadways.  A historical Cemetery map was used to route additional lines along areas that were originally internal alleys, and hence less likely to contain burials.  As an additional precaution, the lines will be placed at a maximum depth of 8 inches below grade, and staff is not anticipating encountering burials at this shallow depth.

Columbia Cemetery Conservation Corps received first “Betty Chronic Preservation in Action Award”

The City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department’s Columbia Cemetery Conservation Corps received the first “Betty Chronic Preservation in Action Award” during Historic Boulder, Inc.’s annual membership meeting and awards ceremony.

Columbia Cemetery's "Jane Doe" Identified as Dorothy Gay Howard

Previously unidentified murder victim whose gravestone reads, "Jane Doe, April 1954, age about 20 years" was recently determined by the Boulder County Sheriff's Office to be Dorothy Gay Howard, from Phoenix AZ.


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