Opened in 1858 on once sacred Native American land, the Prospect Hill Cemetery (renamed Denver City Cemetery in 1873) served as the final resting place for many vagrants, widows and orphans. As part of Mayor Robert Speer’s “City Beautiful” urban improvement plan, the property reopened in 1907 as Cheesman Park.

With an estimated 2,000 bodies still buried in the park, we wonder - "what lies beneath the Cheesman Pavillion?"

(Photo: Courtesy of Brian Sands)

Before its transformation, some 5,000 unclaimed corpses had to be relocated to Riverside Cemetery. The city hired the E. P. McGovern Undertaking Company to exhume and transport the bodies. Collecting $1.90 for each body that was given a new coffin and burial spot, McGovern opted to buy only child-sized coffins rather than full-sized ones. Rumors abound that workers would pack several hacked up bodies into a single children’s coffin so McGovern could turn a larger profit.
 
Over a century later, bizarre sightings in Cheesman Park continue with claims that visitors have seen ghosts wandering the grounds looking for missing body parts. As recently as 2010, remains were unearthed in Cheesman Park when city workers were maintaining the area’s irrigation system. Additionally, it is estimated that up to 2,000 bodies still remain buried and forgotten in Cheesman Park.
 
For "American Horror Story," Cheesman Park is likely to scare the pants off viewers with its potential for zombies and legacy of ghosts and unethical Capitalists.
 
With the return of FX’s "American Horror Story: Coven" from winter hiatus, we examine the possibilities for a Denver-based season of the series.
 

Alli Sands is a Denver native who has been contributing to various local media outlets for over a decade.