On gentle rolling hills covered in native grasses, headstones and markers are scatted quite far apart and placed at odd angles. The dates are weather worn and many are lost to the decades of erosion on their granite, sandstone and limestone facades. Dating from a time before Colorado Springs was founded these hills would be more fitting to a small mountain town than to the big city.
Built a couple of miles east of the new town, these are the graves of pioneers. The graves were randomly placed long before convention dictated that we should all be lined up in a neat grid of tiny rectangular real estate plots.
By the way, in the interest of truth in journalism, I used the Boot Hill name as a way to get you to read this chapter. Don’t call it Boot Hill.
The location was chosen on a couple of rolling knolls that overlook Cheyenne Mountain and the valley to the south. The view stretches for miles and it’s easy to see why this country hill was chosen.
The surprise is that this open grassland is still in tact and looks like it did 130 years ago. A bigger surprise is that it is within the city limits of Colorado Springs.
I was researching another chapter for this website when I stumbled across these sparse markers scattered in the distance. How could I have not know about this until 2019? I’m a history geek that grew up here! I don’t have an answer for that, but it made this discovery all the more exciting.
These hills are northwest of the overpass on Union Blvd and the Highway 24. They can be seen from South Union Boulevard if you know where to look. But don’t stop there. You can also drive right to this hillside and hike the area.
Explore this place yourself. These hills are adjacent to the Evergreen Cemetery at Hancock and Fountain Boulevard but appear as a world apart. You may enter Evergreen Cemetery during daylight hours. No need to check in unless you want to stop by the office for a map. Drive to the southeast corner of the cemetery. It is easy to find where the neat grids end and the grassy hillsides begin.
There is a modern monument placed to honor these pioneers. Although it is not heavily groomed, the staff keeps the wild grasses mowed long.
If you wander this area, watch for cactus and prairie dog holes and I wouldn’t be surprised if a snake or two populate this undeveloped habitat just like any high prairie.
Did you know that main curved road through the Evergreen Cemetery was once the path of a railroad line? You can read about it here!