Glenwood Cemetery tours dig up Park City’s mining history


Park City Museum hosts Glenwood Cemetery tours every Tuesday and Thursday. The goal is to introduce the public to the cemetery and Park City’s history.
Courtesy of the Park City Museum

The Park City Museum invites the public to check out the history buried at the Glenwood Cemetery.

It’s hosting one-hour tours every Tuesday and Thursday through Sept 1, said Diane Knispel, Park City Museum education director.

The tours, which cap at 15 people in a group, are slated to run from 10:30-11:30 am, and registration is open at the museum’s website, parkcityhistory.org/events.



“We want people to experience the cemetery,” Knispel said. “We want to tell them something about the history of the cemetery, the natural environment of the cemetery and introduce them to some of the people who are buried there.”

One hundred-fifty four of the buried are children less than a year old — born stillborn or premature…” Diane Knispel, Park City Museum education director

These tours are also designed to give the public some background about the fraternal orders who established the cemetery and explore the history of the 949 people interred in the five-acre area, Knispel said.



“Many people may have visited and walked through the cemetery or know about it, but they probably don’t know the reasons why the fraternal set up the cemetery,” she said.

Fraternal site orders purchased the land so their members and families would have a place to be buried, according to Knispel.

“Many of the members were miners, and joining fraternal organizations gave miners and their families security by providing life and health insurance that the mines did not,” she said. “One of those insurances was arranging for burial in the Glenwood.”

Knispel enjoys hearing the stories of the people who are buried at the Glenwood Cemetery.

“It’s interesting to learn about what their lives were like, because life was very difficult back then,” she said. “We hear that old saying ‘the good ol’ days,’ but it wasn’t. Life was very hard for those people. They would get sick, they would die in mining accidents, and they needed a place to be buried.”

There are also many children buried at the Glenwood, Knispel said.

“One hundred-fifty four of the buried are children less than a year old — born stillborn or premature,” she said. “One hundred-eightteen were buried over one year-old but less than 6 years old, and 334 died under the age of 18.”

The numbers tend to shock tourists, according to Knipsel.

“What people have to remember is that medicine and technology wasn’t as advanced back then as we are used to having today,” she said. “So they lost a lot of kids. It’s pretty sad that people had to go through that.”

Because of some of the tragic tales, Knipsel asks parents to use their discretion if they want to bring their children along.’

“I would recommend the tours for teens and older,” she said.

Of the 949 people buried at the Glenwood Cemetery, 154 are children who were less than a year old — born stillborn or premature.
Courtesy of the Park City Museum

Adding to the Glenwood Cemetery’s uniqueness, the grass isn’t mowed weekly like other cemeteries in the area, Knispel said.

“We have people ask us why, and one of the reasons is that it has a natural environment full of wildflowers and trees,” she said. “So, we don’t mow it until the fall after everything is seeded. We do this because we want to keep the grounds looking as natural as possible. It looks beautiful like that, and it’s a nice place to walk and a nice place to be.”

People who register for the tour should come prepared to walk, Knispel said.

“We will stick to the path, but I would recommend wearing comfortable shoes, wearing sunscreen and carrying a water bottle,” she said. “Although the tours are in the morning, it can get hot.”

Knispel also said these Tuesday and Thursday tours should not be confused with the annual tour held in October that adds to the town’s Halloween spirit.

That tour, which will be titled “Mishaps and Misadventures of the Glenwood Residents,” takes on a different type of “soul,” she said.

“That’s when we have docents dress up the people who are buried there who have come back as ghosts to talk about their lives and deaths,” Knispel said. “We’ll have two tours on Oct. 1, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. And we’ll add more information to our website as the date gets closer.”

In the meantime, Knispel would love to see people attend the bi-weekly tours and learn more about the Glenwood.

“I find this whole thing fascinating, and I’m sure other people will, too,” she said.

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