Founded in 1890, Fairmount Cemetery was the largest developed landscape west of the Mississippi at the time. Designed by landscape architect Reinhardt Schuetze, Fairmount was planned to resemble a park; quite the challenge in this high plains desert which averages just 15 inches of precipitation or less a year.
In 1891, the first year of Fairmount’s development, Schuetze planted 4,050 trees, 220 evergreens, 100 “large” trees, 200 vines and creepers, 1,920 shrubs, 380 roses (all kinds), and 585 herbaceous plants for a total of 7,455 plants. Even by today’s standards, it was a huge planting on one property.
Schuetze worked and lived at Fairmount until 1894, when the City of Denver hired him to develop the Denver parks system, including Denver’s Washington and Cheesman Parks. He was also commissioned in 1895 to design the Colorado State Capitol grounds.
Today, Fairmount Cemetery is Colorado’s largest arboretum*, both in acreage and number of significant plants, home to numerous Notable* and Champion* Trees, as well as one of the largest known collections of Old Garden Roses* in North America. Designated a Wildlife Viewing Area by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Fairmount is home to deer, fox and numerous other mammals, as well as diverse species of birds, including hawks, owls and Golden Eagles.
*Arboretum – ar·bo·re·tum – a place where trees, shrubs, woody and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific, educational and ornamental purposes.
*Notable Tree – individual trees which are exceptional examples of their species because of their enormous size, great age, rarity or historical significance.
*Champion Tree – the largest known tree of a species. These trees are measured using the American Forests points system which is calculated based on the trunk circumference, the height and the average crown spread to give a point value. Champion trees are documented and tracked at the state and national levels.
*Old Garden Rose – a rose that existed prior to 1867.