We have lived in our Portland house for about 1 1/2 years now. We are really loving the neighborhood and it seems I love it a little more each time I go out exploring. We are so close to fantastic restaurants, coffee shops, theater, local businesses, resale stores.....and the cemetery. Lone Fir cemetery is one of the oldest Pioneer cemeteries in Oregon, has a great history, and it is 1/2 block from home.
It began in 1854 when a man, Stephens, sold his farm to someone with the agreement that his father's grave could remain there and the new owner would maintain the site. Later that same year there was a boiler explosion on a steamship owned by the new farm owner. Ten people were killed and he buried all of them near the original owners father. In 1866, 20 more acres were added to the current location. Portland investors acquired it and sold plots for $10 each. In the beginning, there was one "lone fir" tree. Over the years, families have planted seedlings in memory of their deceased and the cemetery has become this garden-like sanctuary with huge trees everywhere. The estimate is that there are now about 25,000 known and about 10,0000 unknown people buried there including thousands of Chinese immigrants. I don't know how many headstones are there now, but most of the graves must be unmarked. Many of the old wooden markers were destroyed over the years.
We like to take the kids for walks in the "graveyard" as there is always something new to see. I know that is a little morbid, but they really enjoy it. There are wonderful mausoleums and headstones. People were much more clever about their headstones way back when. The big ones are grand and the people seem important, but I fancy the more humble ones. There are still 1500 plots left for sale.
On Halloween a group of people, http://www.friendsoflonefircemetery.org/tour.html,
reenact the lives and deaths of the dead. The even got Portland artists to write songs and record a CD to benefit the cemetery.
Carson took all the photos except for the one she is in. We think we may try to volunteer there as a family. I am trying to find out what they may need.