Salt Lake City Cemetery
200 “N” Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Cemetery Update 3/23/2021
Some of the trees that were toppled in the September 2020 windstorm lifted up monuments and headstones as they fell. This resulted in numerous monuments and headstones being stuck in the root balls of those fallen trees. An archeologist documented and mapped out each of these occurrences in the Cemetery.
Stump removal contractors will soon finish removing all root balls that do not contain monuments or headstones. Crews are also repairing irrigation damage and preparing the ground to lay new sod in affected areas.
This week, the City will be finalizing a contract with a local monument company that will begin removing monuments and headstones from root balls. Due to the unprecedented nature of this task, it’s hard to predict how long this process will take. However, Public Lands administration is planning to have the Cemetery reopened to the public for Memorial Day, and staff is preparing accordingly.
Cemetery Update 3/8/2021
Stump removal continues on root balls that do not contain pieces of headstone monuments. The stump removal contractor is averaging five stumps a day and, to-date, has removed approximately 60. The next step requires the expertise of a monument removal contractor who will address the monuments located in the stumps and root balls; the contract for this process will be awarded as soon as possible. The Cemetery continues to work closely with the new Friends of Salt Lake City Cemetery group, and together they are in the early stages of planning potential community service projects to support Memorial Day preparation as well as decoration removals a week after.
Cemetery Update 2/22/2021
The September 2020 windstorm left behind many tree stumps in its wake. Fortunately, removal of the stumps at the Cemetery has started! This is exciting news as it brings the Cemetery closer to establishing a reopening date. The stump removal contractor is using the damage map created by the archeologist as a guide (this map was created to document the damage caused to headstone and monuments and guide tree removal processes). Daily progress is being made and the results are very promising.
Cemetery Update 2/8/2021
An archeologist, who has been contracted to document the damage to cemetery headstones and monuments, has made good progress over the last two months. He has generated a preliminary map of the damage. This map, once finalized, will guide crews during the tree stump removal process to protect damaged headstones and monuments. The archeologist will collaborate closely with the tree stump removal company to oversee the removal of each tree stump. The Cemetery remains closed, and unfortunately a reopening date cannot be determined. However, Cemetery and Public Lands staff know that good progress is being made towards a reopening.
Cemetery Update 12/9/2020
Please see below for a message from Keith Van Otten, Salt Lake City Cemetery Sexton, about the status of the Cemetery as cleanup from the September windstorm continues:
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to inquire about the estimated reopening date of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an estimate at this time.
The Cemetery is a historic place, and with that designation come strict requirements we need to follow to get the Cemetery put back together after the devastating windstorm. We are working with the State Historic Preservation Office and FEMA to ensure all their requirements are met to preserve the history and the landscape around the Cemetery.
We are finalizing a contract with an archeologist to inventory historic artifacts and numerous damaged headstones and monuments. Many people have expressed an interest in making repairs to the headstones of their loved ones. Unfortunately, until the damage is inventoried by the archeologist, we cannot have any repair work completed.
The archeologist will also be working with a contractor to complete the removal of the root balls and stumps, and to fill in the remaining holes with topsoil. Until the archeologist is hired and begins the inspection of the Cemetery, we have no idea how long this entire process will take.
Many safety hazards remain at the Cemetery. We are currently allowing burials to continue as long as all attendees have signed an Assumption of Risk Form which is available by contacting the Cemetery Office. We have been accommodating other special requests for entry with this signed form. Some examples are for folks who travel from out of town and are unaware of the closure or for loved ones who are grieving the loss of a recent passing. People who are entering the Cemetery without this signed form are entering at their own risk.
This is a difficult situation that we are trying to navigate while being as accommodating to people’s needs as possible. If you would like to discuss your situation with me and are willing to sign the Assumption of Risk Form to enter the Cemetery, please feel free to call (801) 596-5020 or email Keith.VanOtten@slcgov.com.
Keith Van Otten
Salt Lake City Cemetery Sexton
Hours of Operation
8am to 4:30pm
Monday – Friday
The Salt Lake City Cemetery is located between “N” and “U” streets and 4th Avenue and 11th Avenue and contains approximately 122 acres with 9 ½ miles of roads.
The cemetery is laid out in plats. A plat is an area of land that was developed at the specific time. Plats are divided into lots. A lot contains ten graves. On the sexton’s records, each person is recorded in four different areas. There is a location on record for each person buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
There are 130,000 burial sites in the Salt Lake City cemetery with just over 125,000 buried currently.
ALL FLOWERS & DECORATIONS will be removed throughout the whole Cemetery (Annually)
- One week after Memorial Day
- One week after New Year’s Day
If you want to keep the decorations please pick them up prior to the date the removal begins.
During clean up week do not decorate after graves have been cleaned up until the whole cemetery is complete because the new decorations will also be removed.
History of the Salt Lake City Cemetery
The Salt Lake City Cemetery was one of many cemeteries developed during the rural cemetery movement. This movement used landscaping in a park-like setting, creating America’s first public parks.
Salt Lake City’s cemetery is the largest municipally-owned cemetery in the country, taking up a little over 120 acres. 1848 marked the cemetery’s first burial, making the cemetery 172 years old with 130,000 burial sites. Some of these sites hold famous people, such as Orrin Porter Rockwell, lawman and bodyguard of Joseph Smith; Lester F. Wire, inventor of the traffic light; Jean Baptiste, a grave robber; Jane Manning James, the first female black Mormon pioneer; Hiram Bebee, the self-proclaimed and contested Sundance Kid; Jacob Moritz, commonly known as Emo, an early Utah politician, founder of the Salt Lake Brewery and subject of a legendary ghost tale; and Lily E. Gray, whose gravestone is mysteriously inscribed, “Victim of the Beast 666.”