In the summer of 2018, we began working to memorialize one of the largest and most influential Irish immigrant communities in the history of the American West. The memorial, in the Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville, will tell the story of this Irish community and of those buried there. Their lives will be placed into a larger context representing the story about Irish miners in the Rocky Mountain West, their transient lifestyle and activism to improve their living standards.
The Irish occupied the bottom rung of Leadville’s social ladder, worked the mines and smelters, loved, struggled, dreamed, and died young. In the early 1880s, nearly 3,000 Irish-born people lived in Leadville and surrounding gulches, scratching out a bare existence, and then moving on to Denver, Cripple Creek, Butte, and the west coast. Nearly half of the roughly 1,400 unmarked graves are children and the average age of those buried there is twenty three. This memorial is a symbol of recognition of their humanity, their lives, their dreams, and their names, in hopes that their stories might continue.
Barnabas Kane with Consilium Design Inc. is developing the landscaping and spiral walkway while Terry Brennan is creating the centerpiece. Mark de la Torre is the civil engineer. We hope to have the Leadville Irish Miners’ Memorial complete for an unveiling in September 2021.
Below is a model of how the memorial will look along with a model of the centerpiece.
We are still fundraising to meet our Phase 1 goal.
Please consider supporting this effort to honor the memory of those Irish immigrants who came to Colorado in search of a better life, who died here trying to find it, and who deserve not to be forgotten.