Lone Fir Cemetery

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Lone Fir Cemetery
James and Elizabeth Stephens gravestone.jpg
Gravestone of James B. and Elizabeth Stephens, donors of the land for Lone Fir
Year established 1855
Location Portland, Oregon
Country United States
Coordinates 45°31′05″N 122°38′32″W / 45.51806°N 122.64222°W / 45.51806; -122.64222Coordinates: 45°31′05″N 122°38′32″W / 45.51806°N 122.64222°W / 45.51806; -122.64222
Type Public
Owned by Metro
Size 30.5 acres (123,000 m2)
Number of graves 25,000+
Website official site
Lone Fir Cemetery
Lone Fir Cemetery.jpg
Location 2115 SE Morrison St., Portland, Oregon
Area 30.5 acres (12.3 ha)
Built 1855
Architectural style Late Gothic Revival
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 07000824[1]
Added to NRHP August 16, 2007

Lone Fir Cemetery in the southeast section of Portland, Oregon, United States is a cemetery owned and maintained by Metro, a regional government entity. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the first burial was in 1846 with the cemetery established in 1855. Lone Fir has over 25,000 burials spread over more than 30 acres (120,000 m2).


Lone Fir’s first burial came in 1846 when Emmor Stephens was buried several miles east of the small community of Portland, on land belonging to his neighbor, Seldon Murray. In 1855, Murray sold the gravesite and the surrounding ten acres to Colburn Barrell with the caveat that Barrell maintain the gravesite.[2] Eighteen-fifty-four was the year Barrell’s steamboat the Gazelle, exploded near Oregon City killing a passenger and Barrell’s business partner Crawford Dobbins.[2] Barrel then set up a cemetery by setting aside 10 acres (40,000 m2) and burying the casualties of the explosion at the site of Emmor Stephens, calling it Mt. Crawford.[2] Plots at the cemetery were then sold for $10 with 20 acres (81,000 m2) additional being added to Lone Fir by 1866.[2] That year Barrel offered to sell the cemetery to the city of Portland for $4,000, but the city declined and instead Barrell sold it to a group of investors.[2] Those investors then renamed the cemetery to Lone Fir as there was only a single fir tree at the site.[2]

In 1903, a $3,500 memorial to the soldiers of the Indian Wars, Mexican-American War, the American Civil War, and the Spanish-American War was built at the cemetery.[3][dead link] The Soldier’s Monument was paid for by donations by over 500 citizens.[3] Then in 1928 Multnomah County took over control and maintenance of Lone Fir.[3] In 1947 the county paved part of the cemetery and later constructed a building on the site.[4] This was the location of many Chinese graves, which were removed the next year.[4] In 2004 it was discovered that more graves likely remained at the site.[4] In 2005 city leaders proposed removing the government building that was constructed over the graves of these Chinese immigrants and re-connecting that portion with the main cemetery;[5] it was removed in August 2007.[6] In January 2007 Metro took over control of this section of the cemetery after a transfer from the county.[7] On August 16, 2007, the cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

Currently the cemetery is located between Stark Street on the north and Morrison Street to the south, with Southeast 20th Avenue bounding on the west and Southeast 26th on the east.[2] Lone Fir covers 30.5 acres (123,000 m2) and has over 25,000 graves, with over 10,000 of those unknown due to poor maintenance.[2] It is home to the Pioneer Rose Garden.[9]

Notable burials[edit]

George Law Curry
Harry Lane

The cemetery is the final resting place for several of the former mayors of the city, as well as other politicians and famous citizens.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Metro. "Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery". Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c A Brief History of Lone Fir Cemetery. Multnomah County. Retrieved on March 2, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "Parking lot may lie atop cemetery". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. 2004-11-18. Retrieved 2003-03-02. 
  5. ^ Leaders push plan to fix historic Lone Fir cemetery. Portland Online. Retrieved on March 2, 2008.
  6. ^ Nakamura, Motoya (August 16, 2005). "Demolition begins new chapter at Morrison Building site". The Oregonian. 
  7. ^ Oppenheimer, Laura. Metro takes over lost, historic section of Lone Fir cemetery. The Oregonian, January 5, 2007.
  8. ^ Register of Historic Places: National Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 8/13/07-8/17/07, registry number 07000824. National Park Service. Retrieved on August 31, 2007.
  9. ^ History in bloom. The Oregonian, May 24, 2007.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Kestenbaum, Lawrence (2008-06-16). "Multnomah County, Oregon". The Political Graveyard. Ann Arbor. Retrieved 2008-03-02. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Some Interesting Burial Facts. Lone Fir Cemetery. Retrieved on March 2, 2008.
  12. ^ "Search cemetery records". Metro Regional Government. 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2009. 

External links[edit]