Colorado’s Mount Lindo Cemetery and Mausoleum rests on top of a mountain that overlooks Highway 285 and Denver. On the East side of the mountain is the largest lighted cross in the United States. The history of the lighted cross goes back to the Olinger family, who founded the Olinger mortuary company in Denver in the 1890s.
George Olinger Sr., son of Olinger mortuary founders, John and Emma Olinger, bought Mount Lindo in the 1930s. He later sold it to Francis S. Van Derbur, who was married to George’s daughter, Gwendolyn. Van Derbur originally intended to develop the mountain, but instead he made it into a cemetery in 1963. His father, Francis C. Van Derbur, expressed an interest in being buried on Mount Lindo with the spot being marked by a cross. Francis S. had the famous lighted cross installed on the East side of the mountain so his mother, Pearl, could see it from her home in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood.
The cross is 393 feet high and 254 feet across, and can be seen from the highway and parts of the city it watches over. It was partially conceived by designer Donald Lee Frees, who also worked on designs for many Olinger buildings, including the Tower of Memories at Crown Hill Cemetery. The cross was first lighted on Easter in 1964.
The Mount Lindo cemetery gates are on South Turkey Creek Road just off Highway 285 near Tiny Town. Mount Lindo rises 7660 feet above sea level and is owned and operated by Olinger Mortuary.
Mount Lindo Cross from the Morrison exit off Highway 285, 10 November 2006; You can click on the photo for another, larger view.
For more information on Mount Lindo burials and Jefferson County, Colorado cemeteries see: Online Colorado Death Records Indexes and Cemetery Burials
Jones, Rebecca. “Mount Lindo bears its cross: regarding the big cross up on the mountain…My husband says there’s a graveyard there.” Rocky Mountain News, 2 March 1997, p. 27D.
Martin, Claire. “A Colorado Life: Designer helped conceive huge Mount Lindo cross.” The Denver Post, 15 December 2004, p. C10.
Just stumbled in here a few days ago … this is a fascinating topic. Great idea for a blog, I’m going to hang back and see what else develops.
This is one of the most spectacular and original places I have ever been. My Mother’s ashes are scattered here and I could think of no place else she would rather be. If ever in Colorado, this is a site to see. The hand made monuments at the top of the mountain are absolutely beautiful. As well as the view!!!!!!!
I saw your comment on your mother’s ashes at Olinger Mount Lindo. I thought you would be interested to know that June 22, 2008 there is an event called Hike for Hospice that benefits Porter Hospice and St. Anthony Hospice. The event is at Olinger Mount Lindo and when hikers reach the top, they can release a dove in honor or memory of a loved one. You can register or find out more information at http://www.hikeforhospice.org, or call 303.715.7615. Hope to see you then! Thanks, Paige
I love this cross in Colorado. I remember the hue and cry that went up when some people wanted it taken down because it violated their civil rights. Pilots protested that it helped them navigate when flying over the Denver area. I looked for it every time I had been away from our home in Littleton, because as I drove west I could see it and think: I’m almost home with my family. I just want to say thank you for putting this cross up on the side of the mountains near a place that was our home for 28 years.
I wanted to let you all know we will be holding the 4th annual Hike for Hospice at Olinger Mount Lindo on June 28, 2009 to benefit Porter Hospice and St. Anthony Hospice. For more information, please visit http://www.hikeforhospice.org. We hope to see you there!
I grew up in Arvada, and could see the cross from my backyard. Looking at the “Cross on the mountain” always made me feel good, if nothing more than to know that we were blessed to live there. We moved from Arvada in 1978, but I’ll never forget the Cross on the mountain.
I just recently moved back to the Denver area and was real happy to see the Cross that has ment so much too so many people. It has welcomed me home with opened arms!!!!!
i grew up in Colorado and i never remember a time of not seeing it and now that i live in Washington that is the one thing i seem to miss the most. it is beautiful and original.
I lived in Denver around 1980, and remember the cross. It was always a resassuring presence, and I’m glad to see it’s still there.
My sister who lives in Littleton passed away 4/14/2010 and her ashes will be scattered on Mount Lindo, it is nice to know that my niece and nephew will be able to see the cross and think of their mother. It is a beautiful resting place.
I was born in Denver but my parents moved me to Florida when I was 9 years old. I remember my dad telling me that God hung the cross in the sky. I’m back in Denver now and can see the cross from my balcony. It reminds me of my dad every time I look at it. Great memories of being a child in awe that God hung the cross for us to see.
[…] I could look west and see them darker against the night sky with a huge lighted cross hanging on Mount Lindo. Just one sweep with my eyes told me where I was (the city was simpler then) and centered me, […]
My husband and I just came from Conifer where went to dinner, he had never seen the cross before. I, too, grew up in Arvada like a previous poster, and could see the cross from my bedroom window, plus on the numerous trips to Pine while I was growing up. Ahh, the memories!
just read about cross have lived close to it off 285 for 9 years our 2 kids 3 and 9 love the cross along with me and my wife on clear nites i can see it leaving airport i always reminberd it from when i lived here in late 80s now hopefully if i read this right i can be buried there !!!!!
I live in Bailey Colorado, I am lucky enough to drive by this cross twice a day, everyday. It brings a sense of comfort, especially when you have to commute 285 twice a day. Ironically, I have lived up here for 8 years and just now know the story behind it. My son asked me why it was there, so I googled it!! Interesting story! 😉
I lived in Bailey back in the early 70s moves to In and here for a visit miss the cross lit so much made me cry. I pray they will get it fixed one day I would love to have a picture. I too would watch for it as we climbed home on 285 lol thank you
[…] night, from anywhere in my little world, I could look west and see a huge cross hanging on Mount Lindo. Just one sweep with my eyes told me where I was (the city was simpler then) and centered me, […]
I hope my dear daughter can watch this beautiful mount where her ashes scattered. She loved the mountains even though she was born on a Russian plain.
I was on the cemetery yesterday and saw the most beautiful deer I’ve ever seen. What a special place!
I lived in Colorado for 8 years as a child and this cross always drew my attention. When I came back as an adult I HAD to see it. I have never been TO Mt. Lindo but plan on making a trip there when I visit again. I have grown as a Christian and the memory of the cross as a child is a special comfort and still have the need to search for it at night when I am there and share it with my son as well. Colorado is already a most important place for me and my family and our history but the cross is definitely included when i think of “my other home”.
The Mt. Lindo cross is so awesome! Photos do not do it justice. When I moved to Conifer, CO and saw it for the first time, I was amazed. It is so strikingly beautiful. I knew when I saw that, that I was at home. It is impossible to explain the peace the mountains give, and the cross just adds to that peaceful feeling. I pray that it will stand always. What a blessing it is to all who live there.
Back around 1997 or so I was in charge of building the cremation garden at the top of the mountain and made the decision to shut down the cross for a couple days so we could hook it up to permanent power (it was run by a windmill and batteries before then).
That’s when I found out just how much it means to the residents of Denver area!
I saw this website and a couple weeks ago I was in Lakewood and I thought I would pay a visit here. It was an incredible cemetery and quite a drive up to. The views were just incredible. I went there on a saturday and there was no one else there. I really enjoyed visiting all the graves and staring at the views. Would be a peaceful place for a final resting spot. Definitely recommend visiting for those who enjoy unique cemeteries.
Hike for Hospice will be held this year on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 at Olinger Mount Lindo. More info at: http://www.hikeforhospice.org
My Mom, Marie Bryant, has her cremated remains interred just above the cross. It was my Sister’s suggestion, and it was a great one. My Mom loved Denver, and loved Colorado in general. My Dad had served at Fitzsimons Army Hospital during WWII, and convinced my Mom to move with him to Colorado in 1961. My Mom would have loved having her remains placed there to overlook Denver. She loved the mountains, and she knew of the cross at Mount Lindo. It’s just a beautiful and peaceful place.
This is where my 10 year old Granddaughter will rest. I too bought a place so I can be next to her.
It is beautiful up there and everyone loves the big cross so much! I’ve been through the cemetery recently and actually caught a ghost voice on my phone. So, I’m curious who all is buried up there. The mausoleums are beautiful as well. 🙂
Has the cross been changed? It appears from my house to be something else tonight.
I live in Lakewood, and I’m lucky enough to see the cross from my home. Early in the morning when I leave for work it gives me an incredible sense of peace and calm. It always puts things into perspective for me. Mount Lindo is special. Years of praise have been given to God by the presence of the cross.
How can we keep the cross lit we all need to pull together to keep our cross.
Why is the Cross not lit up now?? It has been at least a week. Is it being repaired?? I miss it so much!!!
A lightning strike has apparently disrupted the lights.
This cross has been a wonderful symbol of faith. I have looked at it for the time it has been here. I look for the cross every morning on my way to work. It gives me a good reason to be alive. However, I do not believe that this time a lighting strike has caused it to be off, again. What do we need to do to get it back on permanently?
When will the cross be lit again?
During my prime years of growing up, coming of age, (70’s) I drove up 285 to my home in Indian Hills each evening. What a tremendously wonderful site to come upon the Cross, as it got bigger the closer I got to home. Special memories. The drive would never be the same without it.
Looking out my window tonight (Oct, 17 2015), I noticed the cross is dark. Does anyone know if it was damaged during the wildfire on the ‘hogback’ the past few days?
The cross has not been lit for at least a week now and we miss it! Is something wrong?
Growing up in Littleton, I could see the cross from my bedroom window. It’s such a beautiful and familiar sight. What amazes me is, when I mention the cross to friends who live in the Denver metro area, they aren’t aware that it exists or have ever seen it!!
My husband and I went to the top on Dec 16th 2018 and yes there is a cemetery at the top. This is the scariest but most wonderful drive I have ever taken the switchback road was dirt and I am glad I got to experience the trip to the top. Thank you for having it open.