Lone Tree Cemetery
A Brief History of the Lone Tree Cemetery District
Lone Tree Cemetery
Edwin (“Little Ned”) Andrus, the first person buried in the cemetery succumbed to pneumonia on April 4,1885 when he was just one year, seven months and 11 days old. His parents George and Mary Andrus wanted him buried in a most beautiful site on their land, the St. James Placer. A few years later, the family sold the plot of land to the Town of Telluride for $75…and the Lone Tree Cemetery was born.
The first recorded burials in Telluride’s Lone Tree Cemetery were in the mid-late 1800’s, during Telluride’s mining boom era, when avalanches, flu epidemics, mining accidents and labor strikes took many lives. Families would usually bury their loved ones by themselves, and care for their graves. There was no Cemetery District in place until 1956, when a female civic group named the Commonweal Girls circulated a petition to the voters. The measure passed, and the first Cemetery Board was appointed by the County Commissioners. A mill levy of 1.0 was imposed for the cemetery’s upkeep.
The 1996 Lone Tree Cemetery Survey, photo documented by Telluride’s Historic Preservation Planner, Kaye Simonson, and prepared for the Town of Telluride and Western Slope Historic Services, stated that at that time, “The Cemetery Board estimated that there are more than 2,000 burials in the Lone Tree Cemetery, many without headstones or markers.” Today, as the community has grown, so has the number of souls whose final resting place lies in the Lone Tree Cemetery.
In it’s early days, the Lone Tree Cemetery appeared to be a Christian Cemetery, with no Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, or other major world religions in evidence. Today, the Cemetery is a National Historic Landmark, an ecumenical, secular resting place for Telluride area residents of all faiths. The Lone Tree Cemetery is Telluride’s most invaluable historic asset. A visit to these hallowed grounds will give one an idea of Telluride’s past mining history, and how the community has thrived and morphed into one of the most spectacular resort towns in America.
The Telluride Historical Museum’s guided tours of the Lone Tree Cemetery provide a unique look into Telluride’s history and the iconic people who lived, worked and were buried here. To learn more, log onto www.telluridemuseum.org.
The Lone Tree Cemetery District is a county cemetery taxing district located within the eastern part of San Miguel County, Colorado. As a taxing district it is subject to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, Article X, section 20, of the Colorado Constitution, a/k/a TABOR as well as provisions of the Gallagher Amendment. We are funded, in part, by limited property tax revenues as well as funds derived from the sale of interment rights to cemetery plots, plaque spaces on the Memorial Wall, and donations. The boundaries of the Lone Tree Cemetery District are shown on the Cemetery District Map, as prepared by the San Miguel County GIS department Please refer to your San Miguel County Property Tax Statement to determine if your property lies within the Cemetery District's boundaries. Property tax assessment records are available on the San Miguel County website, www.sanmiguelcountyco.gov.
The Cemetery is governed by a three member, volunteer board, appointed by the San Miguel County Board of Commissioners, and operates in accordance with rules authorized by the Colorado county cemetery district statute, C.R.S. 30-20-801 to 808. The mission of the Board is to preserve, protect and maintain this historic asset and insure the past, present and future history of Telluride have representation in the Lone Tree Cemetery.
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