Make new fall traditions during Historic Cemeteries Month


Exploring a historic cemetery is a COVID-safe activity and helps curb vandalism

Portland’s Lone Fir Cemetery could hold interesting stories of women who fought for the 19th amendment right to vote. Metro staff hope to get a state grant to highlight those stories. (PMG File Photo Courtesy Portland Tribune)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When was the last time you took a stroll through a cemetery? 

October is Historic Cemeteries Month and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is encouraging the public to try a new COVID-safe activity by exploring a historic cemetery. 

With fall in the air and the leaves changing, a cemetery can be a peaceful and beautiful place to visit. They give visitors the chance to enjoy the outdoors and learn about the people from the past. And more visitors means less vandalism. 

Consider adding a trip to a local historic cemetery to your October traditions. The parks department suggests reading up on a cemetery’s unique history, the people who were laid to rest there and the mortuary traditions and mourning practices of other cultures. Search your local cemetery, visit Oregon Heritage Exchange, or search the Oregon Historical Society’s Oregon Encyclopedia.

Do you celebrate Dias de los Muertos? Get in touch with a cemetery before your visit to learn more about their rules regarding celebrations. 

You can also volunteer to help pickup litter, clean up after a storm or clean monuments. Cemeteries also require a lot of maintenance work like repairs, landscaping and records-keeping so consider donating to help with the costs. 

The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries is also looking for new members interested in historic preservation, genealogy, cultural and burial practices of ethnic groups found in Oregon, landscape and native plants and history. 

More information about the Historic Cemeteries program

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