"I'm a storyteller with images, so for this collection, I wanted to show what has happened to Colorado's oldest cemetery, Riverside. When it was built in 1876, our founders wanted to show the world that Denver had refinement and culture and knew how to properly respect those who had passed. They were desperate to attract east coast businesses so they needed to erase the stigma that Denver was an uncivilized, prairie town filled with rough and tumble cowboys who piled up dead bodies in shootouts and dragged them to a graveyard east of town.
"Riverside was that answer. First of all, it was not a graveyard; it was a cemetery, a park with headstones that embraced the 19th Century "City Beautiful" movement which introduced ideas like manicured lawns and tree-lined pathways. It was also located on the eastern banks of Denver's Platte River, so it had plenty of water and picturesque views of the mountains.On every account, it was a huge success. It opened to huge fanfare; Denverites regularly visited Riverside on weekends treating their excursions as formal family outings; East Coast businesses brought new wealth into the city; and Denver successfully secured the Democratic National Convention of 1908.
"However, later politicians seemed to lose the original vision of our founders, and later allowed refineries and factories to build next to Riverside. And in 2005, they shut off all river irrigation to the towering oaks and emerald lawn.
"I wanted to caputre what a decade of decay had done to this once crown jewel, and the images I got are stunning. Riverside has essentially become an unkempt graveyard on the dusty parched prairie – the exact antithesis of what our founders wanted. And this is the final resting place of some of Colorado’s most revered leaders including governors, senators, and Medal of Honor winners, And now there are tumbleweeds.Interestingly, what remains is surprisingly aesthetic. So I wanted to capture images that showed its dignity while still telling the story of what has become of this once grand vision. I think the images are beautiful, and I hope buyers think so too."
To purchase images from Takeda's "Forgotten" Collection, either go online to order or stop by Artwork Network in Denver's Santa Fe Art District at 878 Santa Fe Drive, 80204.