Both Guadalupe and Rosario cemeteries began in 1868. They became the two established Catholic cemeteries for the city of Santa Fe. Cristo Rey cemetery was created at the turn of the 20th century. The Spanish families living in the northeastern corridor of Santa Fe created that graveyard. It was located on part of the Rodriguez land grant. The small cemetery contained about a hundred graves. Some of these people died during the 1918 Influenza epidemic. Other graves contain the remains of stillborn infants, which was a common cause of death during that era. The surnames of families buried there include: Apodaca, Armijo, Gonzales, Padilla and Rodriguez.
Our Lady of Guadalupe cemetery surrounded by businesses on St. Francis Drive.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe made the decision to consolidate its Catholic burial grounds after WWII. The church closed the Guadalupe and Cristo Rey cemeteries in 1945. Today, all Catholic burials take place at Rosario cemetery, which is the city’s oldest-continuous cemetery.
Rosario cemetery is located on the grounds where Diego de Vargas encamped. He arrived with his army in September of 1692 to resettle Santa Fe following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The creation of Rosario Chapel followed in the northwest corner of the cemetery. The chapel is a shrine to La Conquistadora, the oldest Madonna in the United States. Many Spanish families chose burial plots close to the chapel, so that they could be near La Conquistadora.
WW II Graves at Rosario
There are many historical gravesites at Rosario Cemetery. There is a memorial to the men lost in battle during World War II. Two graves at Rosario contain prisoners from the Japanese internment camp during the war. These men came against their will from different parts of the country, mostly the west coast. They had to leave their families, businesses and all ties to the community. Within weeks 4,555 men arrived in Santa Fe. These so-called “enemy combatants,” were teachers, journalists, businessmen, and artists; the type of people the American government felt posed a threat because they were free thinkers