Lone Fir Cemetery, Portland, Oregon (Historical Gem)

Today, Portland savored a beautiful Fall day. Just warm enough, leaves already falling, squirrels chasing one another amongst the trees of the Lone Fire Cemetery. It is Portland’s oldest cemetery

Within a short time, I came across several stories that would beg more research, more leads to followup. Where to begin? I took photos and they mostly tell the story but a few explanations help too. 

First, I went to a corner of the cemetery I had never explored before. Out of the way, I had always driven by it toward the older portions of the cemetery (although it is all mostly old by Portland standards). I was shuffling through dry leaves and chestnuts, watching some squirrels chase each other around the trunk of a tree. I stopped to take their photos should I be so lucky to capture their swirling chase. They momentarily disappeared from sight so I looked down. Within this 30 acre site, in this off to the side corner was the head stone for my children’s pediatrician. A saint of a man, who died much too young. How amazing I came to a stop atop his grave.

There are in excess of 25,000 people buried in the Lone Fir Cemetery and I happened upon this grave. I looked up and my friends were staring at me.

Such good karma on a warm afternoon. Good memories. A work crew off in the distance lounged in their work truck. Not another living person in view. I was going to say ‘soul’ but opted away from that. I moved toward the opposite corner where I knew the pioneer family, the Stephens, are buried.

The link I attached, provides the start up data re the  Lone Fir Cemetery and the Stephens family. There graves take up a fifty foot swath in the NW corner of the cemetery. The grave of Emmor Stephens (born 1777, died 1846) is next to the above headstone. Emmor was the first burial in the cemetery.

Emmor Stephens Headstone

This monument was to the Stephens’ children and grandchildren. As I circled the monument I counted ten born/died engravings on the monument of young ones. I didn’t think to look if there was a pattern as to year and a disaster of some sort.

Now I know by East Coast/Euro standards this is not too impressive, but by Portland standards it is epic. Realize that just within previous months the Penny Coin Toss that decided Portland’s name had just taken place. These were primitive times in River City.

There was more, but I will save it for another time soon. With in a stone’s toss there were all manner of Portland historical treasures and great photo ops.

As I was leaving the vans and rental rigs were parking nearby and gurneys of gear were being wheeled into the cemetery by some film crew. Grimm perhaps? They have been filming in Portland for sometime. Perfect locale for a cemetery shoot.

10 Responses to “Lone Fir Cemetery, Portland, Oregon (Historical Gem)”

  1. 1 John Newbury
    October 11, 2012 at 21:58

    Did you happen to find an iPhone and a coat? My daughter lost them there last friday.


    • October 11, 2012 at 22:40

      Oh John, I didn’t. I was there on Monday. I didn’t see much lying about. I saw a Metro crew and truck in there. Not sure about any lost and found. That would have been a perfect outcome. Good luck on the Metolius.


  2. October 10, 2012 at 02:56

    Your photos remind me of walking through Lone Fir Cemetery years ago. Thank-you, Steph.


  3. 4 YP
    October 9, 2012 at 21:20

    Thanks for sharing the pictures and facts of the Lone Fir Cemetery. Crazy to think of all the stories of the past; makes you wonder the “how, what, why and where”
    Great post!


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