Jason Marmor Manuscript: Pet Memorial Park: A Forgotten Cemetery in Rural Jefferson County, Colorado, 2016
Scope and Contents
Self-printed, sprial-bound report about an abandoned pet cemetery located in rural Jefferson County, Colorado. The cemetery, on slightly less than one acre of land, contains approximately 32 graves - 17 of which have headstones. Report contains nice color photographs, drawings and maps. The purpose of the report is to provide documentation of a small, unnamed pet cemetery located in a part of the county that is rapidly being transformed by urban development. (58 pp.)
- Marmor, Jason D. (Author, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Archives collection material is non-circulating, requires staff retrieval and is available for use by appointment in the reading room.
Biographical / Historical
On February 8, 1957, the Colorado Mausoleum Company filed a plat for "Pet Memorial Park," located within Lot 9 of the Westminster Gardens subdivision on a partial piece of land they acquired in January, 1957. The Colorado Mausoleum Company was incorporated January 13, 1956, by Lester Seal and Velman Seal. Velman Seal was associated with mortuaries in Limon, Golden and Wheat Ridge, and served as the Jefferson County Coroner from 1953 to 1955. The cemetery, on 0.964 acre of land, was divided into 6,000 7-square ft. burial lots. The Seals sold the first burial plot in July, 1957, under the name "Pet Memorial Service" run by funeral director Velman Seal. At one point, four contiguous lots for a "Mausoleum Site" were sold, but the mausoleum was never constructed.
It is likely that Pet Memorial Park was originally intended as a commercial venture, probably in conjunction with a new human cemetery that would be developed by the Colorado Mausoleum Company on the remainder of their 16.34-acre property in Westminster Gardens. Oddly enough, the Colorado Mausoleaum Company owned the property only briefly. A little more than a year after filing the plat for Pet Memorial Park, they sold it to Edward A. and Pearl Borkoski of Colorado Springs. The entity known as Pet Memorial Service was also sold. By 1964, Pet Memorial Park's use as a commercial enterprise had ceased, and all future use of the cemetery for the burial of animals appears to have been done as a non-profit activity that simply respected the fact that the property was platted (and probably fenced) as such.
The property was owned by the non-profit Animal Relief Foundation from 1971 to 1986. In 1987, the Animal Relief Foundation quit-claimed it to the Jefferson County Kennel Association (JCKA). In 2004, JCKA quit-claimed Pet Memorial Park to its president, Dorothy Williams. Because it was not a commercial enterprise for most of its existnece, and therefore was not advertised as a pet cemetery, Pet Memorial Park was used primarily for burials by members of these two organizations. As a result, the cemetery which theoreticaly contained 6,000 burial plots, contains less than 50 pet burials.
Based upon gravestone inscriptions, the earliest documented interment in the pet cemetery was in March 1968 when a champion purebred female German Shepherd named "Stormcroft Senta von Rommel" was laid to rest. The latest, "Susie" (breed unknown) is from 1986. Many other graves, however, are not dated so an accurate timeline cannot be achieved.
0.10 Cubic Feet (1 Spiral-bound Report)
Language of Materials
From the introduction: Driving along Indiana Street in rural Jefferson County, Colorado, south of the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, a knoll a short distance north of State Highway 72, you may notice a rectangular plot of ground enclosed by a low galvanized chain link perimeter fence with nothing in it but grasses and one isolated pinyon pine tree. But if you were to take a closer look, you might notice some small stone monuments nearly buried in the grass, and wonder what they are. It's hard to see from the roadside, but this fenced enclosure, measuring approximately 200 feet square, has a poignant past - it is a pet cemetery that contains the remains of some 20-40 dogs and cats. No sign announces its purpose, and many of the grave stones are either flat or less than a foot tall, but still testify to the importance of companion animals--pets--in people's lives, and the emotional pain their passing often causes.
This forlorn burial ground, which occupies slightly less than an acre of prime real estete, is actually part of a larger, 9.22-acre rural residential parcel containing a modest single family home and a few nondescript rural outbuildings, which form a cluster situated to the north of the cemetery. A small isolated rocky knoll rises just south of the cemetery, blocking from view the urbanized area extending southward towards Golden and Wheat Ridge. Access to the cemetery is provided by an ungated opening at its northwest corner.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Archives by the author in 2016.
- Animal Relief Foundation (Colo.)
- Jefferson County Kennel Association (Colo.)
- Pet Memorial Park -- Jefferson County (Colo.) -- History
- Pet cemeteries -- Colorado -- History Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Reports Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Seal, Lester
- Seal, Velman
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Jefferson County Archives Repository
3500 Illinois Street
Golden CO 80401 United States