Friday, October 11, 2013

Favorite Haunts: Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery

I don't know how many people take into account the proximity of a good graveyard when they house-hunt, but the closeness of Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery was a big deciding factor for me when we moved over to the Southeast. The largest of 14 historical Portland cemeteries, I can spend hours there, admiring the stones and their inscriptions.

The Friends of Lone Fir used to put on a great Halloween event, complete with speeches from historical ghosts, called The Tour of Untimely Departures. They have stopped in recent years, which is a shame. It was a fun way to learn Portland history, and some of the ghosts were great actors. They still offer a monthly, non-haunted tour for free. (One of these days, I'll be up that early on a Saturday.) The cemetery is also a quiet city park, managed by Metro, filled with wildlife and the occasional yoga enthusiast. I'll definitely miss it if we ever move.
The Macleay mausoleum is the highlight of any visit. It's straight out of a Hammer Horror, and I love it. The second story houses a chapel, while steps lead down to the gated crypt in front.
More ghoulishness after the jump...

These are the Stephens, James & Elizabeth.

They're the parents of Lone Fir's founder. I always feel a strange kind of peace near them. Maybe it has something to do with the charming inscription on the back of their portrait.
"Here we lie by consent after 57 years 2 months and 2 days sojourning through life awaiting natures immutable laws to return us back to the elements of the universe of which we were first composed".
They must have been rather unusual people for the 19th century.
Many of the graves are heavily gardened. Sometimes, people leave offerings.
There are several markers in the shape of trees, beautifully carved with ivy and lilies. These were put up by the Woodmen of the World, a delightfully pagan name for nothing more occult than a life insurance company.
Lone Fir is lovely this time of year, perfect for an grey afternoon ramble. The horse chestnuts are bursting, and the ground is covered in these spiky little tribbles.
For more information on Lone Fir, and a schedule of up-coming events, check out the Friends of Lone Fir website.  
And should you come upon a dark and windswept wanderer amongst the tombs, well, that's just me.

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