Naming the end of the road
DILLON – The Dillon Cemetery encapsulates a rich history dating back to the late 19th century, but through all the years the serene grounds have been missing one feature – road names.Now, the cemetery’s advisory committee has created a list of suitable names for the dozen-and-a-half dirt roads that meander through the cemetery, located off Highway 6 across from Summerwood.Committee vice chairperson Tami Smith presented the names to the Dillon Town Council last week, explaining that the committee chose Summit County’s history as an overarching theme for the project, and used words such as railroad, prospector and pioneer.However, some designations do fall outside those lines.
For example, the group chose to dub a row of graves dedicated to nine babies “Serenity” and named “Warren Station Way” after Dillon pioneer Chauncey Warren, who originally donated the land for the cemetery in 1885, Smith said.The committee prioritized naming roads when it formed three years ago with the hope that eventually they would set up a kiosk with a map of the cemetery and information on its history, said committee secretary Linda Polhemus.Polhemus said the committee doesn’t know when the new road signs will be constructed or what they will look like, and still needs to hold discussions with the town about how to pay for the signs.Cemetery history
In 1885, Dillon’s mayor Chauncey Warren deeded 53 acres of land to the town for the cemetery. In 1962, when the town was moved so Denver Water could create the reservoir, the 327 plots in the cemetery had to be relocated as well, Polhemus said.After going through a lengthy process of finding families to get permission to move the graves, the town contracted with Western Vault of Holyoke to exhume the bodies and bury them at the cemetery’s current location, she said.Polhemus said she’s heard stories of people who moved the bodies contracting the bubonic plague or requiring decontamination after finishing the task, “but I’ve been told that’s total hogwash,” she said.The cemetery is considered to be an important link to the old town of Dillon because many of the town’s pioneers are buried in its soils, including Warren.
The Hamilton family, which owned the Hamilton Hotel in old Dillon, are there, as well as many of Polhemus’ relatives, such as blacksmith Tip Bailliff.The oldest grave on the grounds dates back to 1879, Polhemus said.”Many, many, many of the graves out there are ranch families from down the Blue,” Polhemus said.Aside from the road project, the cemetery committee is also raising money to order headstones for the 130 unmarked graves in the cemetery.On Memorial Day, the town will hold its annual event at the cemetery with bagpipers, veteran speakers and a colorguard performance.
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