In May of 2011, I was on a business trip to El Paso when an acquaintance asked if I had seen this cemetery on my way into town. I had not seen it, and he proceeded to tell me how John Wesley Hardin was interred there and how the entire Cemetery looked run-down and forgotten – like the desert was trying, successfully, to reclaim the land – except for the Jewish section, which was lush and green and beautifully maintained. I simply had to see this for myself.
After finishing up for the day, I took some time off to rest, waiting for the sun to be low in the sky to achieve the effect I knew I wanted and headed out in search of this jewel of the Southwst. My first impression of Concordia Cemetery was of the sheer scale of the site. It is immense – and segregated into denominations / cultural boundaries, which I had never seen before. I immediately located the map for Concordia and made a beeline for John Wesley Hardin’s resting place. From there, I explored the grounds at random, taking advantage of the light as long as possible. I was looking for the Jewish Section I had been told about and simply had no idea where it was until I realized the trees and bushes peeking up behind an enormous wall had to be my destination. I made my way across the Cemetery and finally came to the wall. Most of this massive boundary is well above my head, so I made my way towards the entrance, where the wall is lower and was astounded at the stark contrast between this section any other section of this historic site. By contrast, the Jewish Section looks like the Garden of Eden dropped into the heart of the desert.
Another striking feature of Concordia is the use of vibrant blues and pinks on headstones and monuments. It appears to be painted onto a conventional tombstone for effect and can be found in abundance here.
Some of the fascniating residents of Concordia Cemetery:
- John Wesley Hardin
- Buffalo Soldiers
- Mexican Revolutionary Figures
- Chinese Section
- Jewish Section
- Catholic Section
- Mormon Section
- Masonic Section
- Masonic Veterans Monument
- Jesuit Priests Section
- Grand Army Republic Veterans
- Oddvellows Section
- Infant Nursery (victims of the Influenza epidemic (1917-18)
You can find the full gallery along with dozens of other at NecropolisCreep.net