Colorado’s Mount Lindo Cross

March 16, 2007

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.

Mount Lindo Cross near Morrison, Colorado

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.

Cemetery Burials:
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.

Dollar Sign – IHS

October 2, 2006

This symbol, which looks like a dollar sign ($), is actually the letters I, H, and S superimposed over each other. These represent the Greek letters Iota (Ι), Eta (Η) and Sigma (Σ), which are the first three letters of Jesus in Greek. See IHS Monogram for more information.

IHS cemetery symbol in the shape of a dollar sign - Iota, Eta, Sigma

Photo: from the grave marker of Atala Blow Noble (1862-1909) and Louis S. Noble (1865-1934), Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Alpha and Omega

September 8, 2006

Christian Alpha and Omega symbolAlpha (A) and Omega (Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The Christian symbol juxtaposing the two letters is derived from the book of Revelation: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). You will sometimes see it used with the Chi Rho (PX) symbol.

Photo: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

PX Monogram

September 5, 2006

PX monogram - Chi Rho - Christ The monogram that looks like a combination of a P and an X is actually the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ – Chi (X) and Rho (P). The symbol was used by early Christians and is attributed to the Roman Emporer Contstantine, who used it as a military symbol. You will often see it on banners, called labarum, in ecclesiastical processions. The Chi Rho symbol is also the origin of using the abbreviation Xmas for Christmas.

Photo: from the Lilly family gravestone, Mount Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Cross and Crown

September 1, 2006

Here’s a nice example of the Christian symbol of a cross inside a crown. In cemetery symbolism this is thought to represent suffering (the cross) followed by eternal reward (the crown).

The Knights Templar version of this symbol is sometimes set within a Maltese cross. Or you will find it near other Masonic symbols. For more information on the Knights Templar version and its connection to Freemasonry click on the Knights Templar category over on the right side.

Christian cemetery symbol of a cross within a crown

Photo: from the headstone of John R. Champion (1856-1917) and Jane L. Champion (1859-1952), Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Knights of Pythias

August 24, 2006

Knights of Pythias cemetery symbolThe Fraternal Order of Knights of Pythias is an international fraternity that promotes universal peace. It was founded in Washington, DC during the Civil War in 1864 by Justus H. Rathbone. The letters F, C and B stand for Friendship, Charity and Benevolence.

The three symbols on the headstone below are (left to right): Knights of Pythias, a Christian monogram for Jesus, and the Modern Woodmen of America (the original name of the Woodmen of the World).

Knights of Phythias, IHS (Christian monogram), and Modern Woodmen of the World

Photos: Green Mountain Cemetery, Boulder, Colorado