Fairview is Santa Fe's only non-Catholic pioneer cemetery. The Fairview Cemetery Company was started in 1884 by a group of Santa Fe citizens who, after raising $1,250, purchased 4.3 acres on Cerrillos Road for the cemetery. But mismanagement and lack of funds were problems from the start.
The founding directors were accused of fiscal irresponsibility and replaced in 1890. Unfortunately, the new board was not able to get the company's finances in order and in 1899 control, but not ownership, passed to the Woman's Board of Trade, an active civic group founded in 1892 to improve Santa Fe.
An independent Cemetery Committee was formed and was entirely self-supporting from the sale of lots and annual fees for the care of the plots. The women comprising the committee were excellent managers who ran Fairview efficiently. They did such a fine job of beautifying the grounds that Fairview became known as the most beautiful "God's Acre" in New Mexico–renowned for its trees, well-tended lawns, and flowering shrubs. The Cemetery Committee was headed by May Spitz for over three decades. In 1930 the property was deeded to the Woman's Board of Trade, after it had merged with the Santa Fe Woman's Club, and a perpetual-care trust fund was created. This fund, which received a percentage of all money from the sale of lots, eventually grew to $100,000.
When May Spitz died in 1974, so did the era of careful guardianship of the Fairview Cemetery. In 1978, after facing increasing problems in financing the operation, the Woman's Club deeded the cemetery to Santa Fe County. The county had trouble running the cemetery and even tried to give it back to the Woman's Club. Deterioration set in. The Fairview Cemetery Preservation Association was founded in 1982, and the cemetery was restored to some of its former beauty by this group, Today, the cemetery is an example of what can be done by dedicated citizens intent on preserving a place of historic importance.