Here’s a great story from Cheeseman Park, the big gay park here in Denver. Back before the Interwebs this is where you’d go to “hook up.” Back in the day I’d drive around this park for hours in my ’83 Supra wearing Z. Cavariccis and Structure ties. My BFF Jamie would drive around in his Ferio, talking via our fake mobile phones. I’m sure I went through three copies of Janet Jacksons, Rhythm Nation.
But, let’s not dwell on the twink version of StevieB. Back when I wore 30” jeans and a flat belly. It’s always been told that our cruising park was once a cemetery and that thousands of bodies were left after the city just removed the headstones and made a city park. The stories of guys on their knees, sucking dick just to realize they were in a depression cause by a caved in casket. So, last week the AP and Channel 4 released this story…
DENVER (AP) — Couples chatted, children played and joggers hustled past gardens on an unseasonably warm November day at Cheesman Park.
Few knew that the grounds in the center of Denver were once the final resting place for at least 4,200 of the city's earliest residents, according to historical records.
That past literally came up again last week when a construction crew building a parking garage at the nearby Denver Botanic Gardens unearthed two rows of caskets.
Investigators determined that workers had stumbled upon part of a frontier-town cemetery laid out by city founder Gen. General William Larimer, who had acquired the land — an Arapahoe Indian burial ground — in 1858. The land was later divided into different cemeteries for Protestants, Roman Catholics and Jews.
As Denver grew in the 1880s, city officials decided to turn the cemeteries into a park, which was later split into two. In August 1893, they gave the relatives of those buried in the Protestant cemetery, today's Cheesman Park, 90 days to remove their loved ones' remains.
Other remains near the botanic gardens and modern-day Congress Park were removed by 1923, and 8,600 remains from the Catholic cemetery were moved in 1950 to make room for the botanic gardens — where the estimated 40 caskets were found Friday.
"Nobody had a map of where the bodies really were," Chief Deputy Coroner Michelle Weiss-Samaras said.
Most of the caskets found Friday were collapsed and empty, though some contained finger or toe bones. One held a nearly intact set of remains with the skull and some larger bones missing — evidence of a botched effort to remove the skeleton, Weiss-Samaras said.
Investigators combed through the caskets before determining that all remains had been recovered and allowing the construction to continue. The remains were taken to another cemetery, where they will be buried in one casket.
"We don't know who they are," Weiss-Samaras said. "There's no way to say how many people there are."
Larry Conyers, an archaeology professor at the University of Denver, said he has found several caskets in Cheesman Park with a ground-penetrating radar he used to find Roman temples in Jordan, a Christian church in Tunisia and a buried Mayan village in El Salvador.
"We checked an area of the park, where you can see these indentations in the ground, maybe an inch or two of settling," Conyers said. "We didn't find anything. Then we moved our radar antennae to other areas and we found all kinds of caskets, adult caskets, children caskets."
Conyers now uses a 30-by-30 foot area of the park to train his students.
Those enjoying Cheesman on Tuesday were unfazed by the discovery.
"It adds character to the park," said Brandon Styles, an artist who was there with friend Anna Maestas and his Chihuahua, Jim Bob.
Conyers suggested that the next of kin of those buried in the park have likely passed on.
"So what if people are playing Frisbee and having a picnic there?" he said. "There are no relatives moaning and groaning that they have their relatives being lost in the area."
He suggested a sign advising people of the park's history as a cemetery.
Weiss-Samaras said there were such no immediate plans.
"We just want to make sure that any remains that are uncovered are treated with the same respect as if they were buried there yesterday," she said.