100-year old agreement between Masonic cemetary and Walsenburg could be set aside
by Gretchen Sporleder Orr
WALSENBURG — Public input is needed on the future of the Walsenburg Masonic Cemetery, and the two Walsenburg Catholic cemeteries.
The topic will come up at the City of Walsenburg Utilities Committee meeting scheduled for Monday October 21, 5:30 pm at City Hall. The City of Walsenburg is planning to begin charging full commercial rates to the three cemeteries, something that would be cost prohibitive.
A representative of the historic Masonic Cemetery told the HWJ that the cost to the cemetery would be about $750 or higher per month over the summer months. The only income the cemetery has is the sale of burial plots at $500 each, and only five plots a year, on average, are sold.
Historically, the city’s arrangement with the Masonic cemetery is that the Huerfano Masonic Cemetery Association granted the city of Walsenburg an easement for water pipes, and buried indigents at no charge, in exchange for irrigation water. That arrangement has been in place for approximately one hundred years.
As an interesting side note, during the Spanish influenza epidemic in the 1910s, the city would just drop people off in wheelbarrows at the front gate of the Masonic Cemetery, with no identification, and they would be buried. There is an entire section of unidentified babies there as well, left there anonymously to be buried.
If you have relatives buried in any of those cemeteries, please come to the meeting- it is open to the public and attendees will be given the opportunity to speak.
If you cannot get to the meeting, or live out of town, send a letter to Walsenburg City Hall, Utilities Committee, 525 S. Albert St, Walsenburg, CO 81089. You may also wish to speak directly to the head of the committee, Erin Jerant, of Hollowpoint Sporting Goods in Walsenburg.