The Lone Fir story
Lone Fir’s first occupant was Emmor Stephens. His burial took place in 1846 in what was then privately owned land in a rural setting. The land was later platted as Mount Crawford Cemetery in 1855. Back then Portland existed only on the west side of the river. Because of marshy ground, the city closed graveyards at Ankeny and Front, Washington and Stark at 10th, and Burnside at 11th. Many bodies were then reinterred at Mount Crawford.
Mount Crawford was renamed Lone Fir in 1866, for the once solitary tree in its northwest corner. (It’s still standing.) Lone Fir is Portland’s oldest continuously used cemetery and is now a de facto arboretum, with more than 700 trees representing 67 species. Twenty-five thousand people are buried here.
Chestnut Grove Memorial Garden opened within Lone Fir in 2013 to provide an option for the increasing number of people who choose to be cremated.
Forgotten remains, honored again
At Lone Fir, a transformation is taking shape in the block at the intersection of Southeast 20th Avenue and Southeast Morrison Street: burial grounds for patients at a nearby asylum and for Chinese immigrants. There are plans for a heritage garden and memorial on the site.