Identifying Unmarked Graves in the Historic Town of Lake City, Colorado

by | Dec 15, 2017 | Article

We return to Hinsdale County Colorado, in the picturesque town of Lake City for our latest cemetery project.  Our friends in Lake City have dedicated their efforts to locating and identifying unmarked graves of citizens of the City from their past. The location of the project is a 141-year-old cemetery located across several acres.  Cemetery Board Members needed help identifying vacant grave plots in their active cemetery. This began the search in the lower City Cemetery, which has not been used for decades, to be mapped out in an effort for identifying unmarked grave sites. 

Utilizing an advanced subsurface radar, subtle anomalies that lie deep beneath the pine-covered surface are detected. Lake City community has called upon geologist Matthew Turner to help them locate each and every grave.  So far their efforts have recovered over 800 graves temporarily held by bright orange surveyor flags.  While grueling work, considering some of these graves are located on a steep slope, the findings have been everything they hoped to accomplish.  Slight depressions in the ground’s surface often give the impression of a grave site. Another indicator is an area seemingly marked with an outline of stones.  Since long ago, grave sites used wooden headstones to mark a grave.  Unlike the longevity of granite, which is in use today, many of these markers deteriorated with the weather, climate, and lastly, time. 

The radio waves in the radar can detect differences in the soil’s strata which help to prove the possibility of a grave site.  As of the writing of this article 845 was the total number of unmarked graves with more to be located. 

This is where Honor Life can help. We have been privileged to assist in this task and have provided our services of providing sandcarved granite posts.  These will surely last a lifetime and stand in for the original marker which has since decayed.  We are currently fulfilling an order to make 11 markers for the unmarked graves.  Along with future plans to assist with marking the grave sites, Honor Life will continue to assist with the effort.

Geologist Matthew Turner wheels his radar up and down the hillside looking for locations.
Geologist Matthew Turner wheels his radar up and down the hillside looking for locations.  Photo Credit – Lake City Siverworld Newspaper
Temporary markings for possible locations of grave sites.
Temporary markings for possible locations of grave sites. Photo Credit – Lake City Siverworld Newspaper
Grave sites were commonly defined by wooded crosses and/or a row of rocks.
Grave sites were commonly defined by wooded crosses and/or a row of rocks. Photo Credit – Lake City Silverworld Newspaper

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