A BRIEF HISTORY ON MY CONNECTION WITH CHEESEMAN PARK
I attended Cheeseman Academy from 1st grade through 6th. My class was the last to graduate from the school, in fact.
Cheeseman Academy was situated on the fringe of Cheeseman Park. It was housed in a glorious old brownstone mansion. It had started out as a girl’s school, complete with dormitories, in the early 1900s. I’m not sure when it became a co-ed private school, but a woman named Ms. Miller owned and ran it for years and years. She died when I was in 5th grade I believe. Maybe 4th. Her son and his wife took over the school when I was in 6th grade, then decided it was too much, the building was too old and needed too much upkeep, enrollment was dropping so…they opted to shut it down.
For a long time I used to have horrible dreams featuring Cheeseman Academy. Dreams not inspired by terrible teachers or bullies I had to contend with, but just by the feeling I sometimes got while at the school. Sometimes it was just a plain spooky place to be.
I’d dream about a malevolent spirit. One that lived up in the attic, a place that in real life students were rarely allowed to go. When we were, it was always in the presence of a teacher, never by ourselves. It would torment me in my dreams…fly down at me as I was walking upstairs, stalk me in the gym, make me not want to be left alone in certain classrooms… I loved attending the school when I was little, but I sure wasn’t always happy to dream about it.
I had the dreams on and off until Cheeseman was finally torn down sometime in the ’90s. I haven’t dreamt of the school since then..nor of the ghost.
CHEESEMAN’S HISTORY AS A CEMETERY
At one point, Cheeseman was the old city cemetery. Mt. Prospect Cemetery was its name. In 1890 an Act of Congress mandated that this parcel of property was not supposed to be used for a cemetery but was supposed to be a park. Bodies were removed –paid for by relatives if they could afford it and were wanting to claim family members.
However, in the area known as Potter’s Field , where the poor and indecent were buried, who was there to pay for their removal? The city of course. And they paid a man named E.P. McGovern $1.90 a body.
But McGovern had to use children’s caskets because a bad mining accident in Utah created a shortage of adult caskets. But since adult bodies wouldn’t fit in the children’s caskets, he sized them to fit. As you might expect, some discrepancies in billing resulted.
The health commissioner of the time decided to halt further removal of bodies and to seal the land. Some now wonder if this sealed the fate of the park that was to come…
GHOST ACTIVITY IN AND AROUND THE PARK
Sine Cheeseman Academy resided on the edge of the park, we were there almost every day. (Winter excluded.) But on nice fall and spring afternoons it was the rule not the exception to go for an outing to the park.
Some have reported strange feelings or interactions while in the park. Such as laying on the grass and feeling like they couldn’t get up, like something was holding them down. I never felt anything while I was in the park…only while I was in the school.
And others who live in the houses or condos and apartments that line the park have felt similar things. Some have been more friendly than the ghost who inhabited my dreams, but some have provided quite a shock.
WHERE IS CHEESEMAN PARK IN DENVER?
Cheeseman Park is located between E. 8th Ave and E. 13th Ave and Race St. and Humboldt St.
- Cheeseman Park’s history was partly the inspiration for the movie Poltergeist.
- The Denver Botanic Gardens is also by the park. Because the DBG was also erected over the old cemetery, some people have reported experiencing paranormal activity there too. In fact, an old coffin and remains was recently unearthed when the DBG started construction on a parking garage.