Concordia Cemetery

Few places in El Paso are steeped legend and lore like Concordia Cemetery.

Enter if you dare, Mu-ha-ha-ha!

Concordia is the final resting place for all manner of historical figures; generals, outlaws, and civic leaders scattered alongside commoners and unmarked graves. The most famous resident and who’s remains were at the center of a recent legal battle between the city and his surviving family is John Wesley Hardin.

In trouble with the law since the day he was born

The purported outlaw extraordinaire, has had all manner of tall tales told about him. He has been portrayed as a gambler, outlaw, lawyer and heavy drinker with the truth lying somewhere in between.  Famed El Paso historian, Leon Metz, has a book about him that you can browse through at Google Books.

Map of the dead

The cemetery is relatively well maintained now, watched over by the Concordia Heritage Association.  Occasional vandalism is still a problem but Concordia is nowhere near the scary drug den that I recall being warned about in my youth. The graveyard is broken out into sections which makes for an interesting walk through on cultural burial customs. El Paso may not have its own “Chinatown” but we at least have a place to bury the Chinese.

Chinese markers
Chinese Gravestones

All of the sections have a mix of grave markers from very ornate and opulent tombs to simple unmarked wooden crosses.  You’ll even come across a nice advertisement:

monumental advertising
Monumental Advertising

I guess if you buy the plot you can do what ever with it.  One thing that struck me, as I wandered around looking at the family names scattered around, was how connected to El Paso’s past many of these individuals are.  Their names are left not only here but all over El Paso, on buildings and street signs, permanent markers to their commitment to the city’s growth from dusty outpost to sprawling metropolis.

Caples other building

If you happen to be walking around during the summer, bring some water.  There is hardly any vegetation or shade and no water fountains so it gets quite toasty.  Or you could just hop over to L&J for a drink:

L&J, the old place by the graveyard.

I have a bigger walk through that you can view at Flickr here: Concordia Cemetery