The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization of Civil War veterans. It was founded in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois and dissolved in 1956 when its last member died. Peak membership was 490,000 in 1890.
Fourteen veterans formed the Grand Army Cemetery Association and purchased the Portland land in 1882. The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War took over the cemetery’s management.
Salmon Brown, son of abolitionist John Brown, was buried here in 1919. As a young man in 1856, Salmon Brown took part in an event that foreshadowed the Civil War: the Pottawatomie Massacre of five pro-slavery settlers in Kansas. Brown moved west after the war.
Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery is adjacent to Greenwood Hills and Riverview cemeteries and close to Beth Israel and Ahavai Sholom cemeteries.
The cemetery was acquired by Multnomah County in 1971.