Cementerio Lindo/First Maricopa County
Between 1890 and 1951, more than seven thousand early
Phoenix residents were buried in the first Maricopa County
Cemetery (also known as the Salt River Cemetery) now
located at South 15th Avenue and Durango, just north
of the I-17 freeway. They were tuberculosis
patients, indigents, children and "just plain folks".
In 1890 the Maricopa County
Board of Supervisors accepted a bid of $1,250 in County
scrip for ten acres of land for a paupersí burial
ground. The first burial is believed to have taken
place in 1891.
A 1943 survey shows that there
were 1,339 markers at that time. One headstone
carried birth and death dates of 1868-1913. That
headstone has since disappeared.
The cemetery was closed to new
burials in 1951. Around 1961, Maricopa County deeded
the property to the City of Phoenix and it was renamed
Cementerio Lindo. In 1967, workers employed under
the City's LEAP program beautified the cemetery with
shrubs and trees. Between 1990 and 1992, annual
remembrance ceremonies complete with mariachi bands were
Photographs show that until
the mid-1990s, the cemetery had trees and grass. However,
when the irrigation system failed, the appearance of the
cemetery began to deteriorate. The trees died,
and runoff from the adjacent freeway buried some of the
headstones under several inches of mud.
Nevertheless, the dead
have not been forgotten. Bouquets of flowers
continue to appear year after year on the graves that were
still identifiable. A news article which appeared
in the April 27, 2007, edition of the Arizona Republic
newspaper generated additional publicity.
To combat the neglect and
vandalism of the remaining headstones, the City of Phoenix
Parks and Recreation Department is working with Pioneers'
Cemetery Association (PCA) to improve conditions at
Cementerio Lindo. As with any project of this
nature, public support--your support--is needed.
Descendants and relatives of those buried in
Cementerio Lindo can contact their city councilpersons to
demonstrate their support for the rehabilitation of
Cementerio Lindo. Using special funds, the City of
Phoenix erected a decorative wrought-iron fence around the
cemetery in late 2010. An arch over the entrance is
in the planning stage.
The PCA has undertaken to
reconstruct the list of persons buried in the old County
Cemetery. While the total number of graves is
unknown due to a fire in 1951 that burned most, if not
all, of the County burial records, it is thought that
there may have been over seven thousand burials at this
location. Although the original records have been
lost, death certificates for the vast majority of people
interred here are available online. These records
are searchable by name, year and county but
--unfortunately--not by cemetery.
If you have any information
about the cemetery or know the name of someone who was
buried there, please download, fill out and return the Burial Contact Form as an
email attachment to the PCA at email@example.com.
You may also contact the PCA by phoning 602-534-1262
on Thursdays or by writing to the PCA at P.O. Box 33192,
Phoenix, AZ 85067.
keeping with the Pioneers' Cemetery Association's policy
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