Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

Niwot Cemetery: the people behind it


November 1, 2018

Hailie Johnson

Niwot Cemetery: the people behind it

Editor’s note: Niwot High senior Hailie Johnson is eyeing a career in journalism and will be contributing to the Courier from time to time during the school year.  She profiled her grandfather and great-grandfather and their efforts to maintain the Niwot Cemetery for this article.

The Niwot cemetery is a historical landmark that has been around since the 1800s. It all started in 1881 when Nancy Hindmans’ great-grandfather Jerome Gould donated the 1.74 acre parcel to Niwot for a cemetery after his son Ernest died at the age of 13 from appendicitis.

The cemetery is located just west of 73rd Street on Nimbus Road. Hindman is among the few people left taking care of the cemetery, along with JoAnn Bell. Hindman and Bell took over for Naomi Tilbury in the 1980s when they were in their early 70s.

“Tilbury had always lived in Niwot and was very passionate about the cemetery and always worked hard,” Hindman said of her now deceased predecessor.

Surprisingly Tilbury is not buried in the Niwot Cemetery, but in a cemetery in Boulder.

Hindman and Bell’s duties consist of keeping the historical records of the plots, measuring out new graves to be dug, and coordinating reimbursement for a local man and his family to mow the site two to three times a year. Recently they have been able to get help from other area residents interested in preserving and maintaining the burial ground.

Edward Simkins (61) and his father Ernie Simkins (83) volunteer their time to keep the cemetery maintained. They mow the grass and fix all the benches that David Golden, now 35, built for the cemetery as part of his Eagle Scout project 21 years ago. Edward and Ernie are currently working on fixing the outhouse at the site.

Hailie Johnson

The Niwot Cemetery is a historical landmark located west of Niwot on Nimbus Road. It is supported through the donations of generous benefactors who have donated much of the metal work and fencing around the site, including the arch.

The father-son duo, who are both Colorado natives, started volunteering their time because they have multiple relatives buried at the cemetery and felt the need to keep it updated and presentable. Edward puts a lot of time and energy into keeping the cemetery in tip-top shape. He installed wheels on the gate doors so it’s easier for people to get in and out. The pair spend about two to three hours mowing each time they work on the cemetery. Edward uses a normal lawn mower so it’s easier to get in between the tombstones, while Ernie rides a sitting lawn mower and works on the outside areas.

So much has been donated to the Niwot cemetery - from the metal arch to the fencing around the property. In fact, the cemetery mainly runs off donations since there are no empty plots left for purchase, and thus no new income.

Hindman and Bell always welcome donations of any kind whether it is a monetary donation or volunteers to help maintain the grounds of the cemetery and keep a part of history alive. For more information, contact Nancy Hindman at 303-530-7521.


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