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Back to Life: The Community of Historic Fairview Cemetery

Information about exhibitions at Albuquerque Museum's William A. + Loretta Barrett Keleher Community History Gallery

Back to Life: The Community of Historic Fairview Cemetery

Front entrance of Historic Fairview Cemetery,2011
Courtesy Susan Schwartz

Front entrance of Historic Fairview Cemetery, 2011, Courtesy Susan Schwartz

March 26 to November 6, 2016

“Gone but not forgotten” is an inscription you might see on a headstone. As you walk through approximately thirteen acres of Historic Fairview Cemetery you may recognize names you have seen on buildings, businesses, street signs, or of someone you might have gone to school with. The cemetery is a community of New Albuquerque’s city founders. They came here from all over the country for various reasons. The railroad brought workers, and tuberculosis brought the ill to heal in the dry climate and high elevation. Many did recover, but about 25% of those buried in the historic side of the cemetery lost their lives to this disease. Those who survived helped others build the city, opened businesses, and had families.

There are nearly 12,000 burials in Historic Fairview Cemetery. The first documented burial was Mary Josephine Perea, February 27, 1881. Elias Stover wrote an editorial in the November 28, 1882 Albuquerque Morning Journal, in which he stated, “…Indeed several of our citizens have already buried friends beyond on the top of the hill from which place they may soon have to remove their remains unless some system is adopted whereby the ground in which they are buried is legally diverted to the purpose of a cemetery” That was the beginning of Fairview Cemetery located at 700 Yale SE.

As you walk through this exhibit, you will be introduced to New Albuquerque’s first community. You will meet generations of their families, see photos of their businesses, read their life stories and see their final resting place. But this is not the end, it is only the beginning. Many of their descendants live in Albuquerque and have shared the stories of their ancestors, bringing the Community of Historic Fairview back to life.

"Back to Life: The Community of Historic Fairview Cemetery" features photographs, maps, artifacts, documents, and interviews detailing the lives of New Albuquerque's founders, railroad employees, and other individuals buried in the cemetery.

Coordinated by Historic Fairview Cemetery historian Susan Schwartz, "Back to Life" is the first community-based project to open in the Museum's newly sponsored William A. + Loretta Barrett Keleher Gallery.


Limited tours of the exhibition are available on Thursdays and Fridays from Susan Schwartz, Community Historian of Historic Fairview Cemetery. To schedule a tour, please call (505) 764-6502.