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Cementerio Lindo/Old County Cemetery

Partial list of burials in Cementerio Lindo

        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 paupers’ 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 of the oldest known headstones 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 held there.

        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 pioneercem@yahoo.com.  You may also contact the PCA by phoning 602-534-1262 on Thursdays or by writing to the PCA at PO Box 63342, Phoenix, AZ 85082-3342.

    In keeping with the Pioneers' Cemetery Association's policy of providing free information on the internet, data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages may not be reproduced in any format for profit, nor for commercial presentation by any other organization. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material for purposes other than as stated above must obtain express written permission from the author.

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The Pioneers' Cemetery Association welcomes your comments.  Please email us at pioneercem@yahoo.com.

© Copyright 2004-2011  Pioneers' Cemetery Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Last revised 28 February 2011.


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