creswell pioneer cemetery
You have no idea how painful this is. We lived in the beginnings of the Coast Range outside of Creswell for a number of years, and I’ll confess that I indulged in more than my share of Creswell bashing. Regardless of how pioneering its origins were, Creswell has been swamped by I-5. The last real grocery store is gone, and they long ago tore down one of the two remaining pieces of good, pioneer architecture in town, the IOOF Hall (the old church is still there, being used as a museum). The town can no longer decide which side of the tracks it lives on, and for the most part it lives in a narrow strip between the railroad tracks and I-5. I arrived, alas, after I-5 and had no experience with the original town (named, ever so romantically, after a postmaster general).

Which is a roundabout way of saying I was prejudiced. I certainly prejudged the cemetery. I expected a barren plot scraping up a hillside. Instead I found a hidden realm of enchantment far from the distant din of traffic, surrounded by woods, and with a deep peace settled over the place like a fog. After a long drive up from Howe Ln., the cemetery begins inauspiciously enough with a collection of flat stones on a small plot playing its way uphill to a dogleg right. Only when one rounds the corner does one appreciate the scope and ambiance of Creswell Pioneer. Here under a canopy of maples, firs, and madrone augmented by smaller bushes rests a serene community of erstwhile Creswellians peacefully guarding the passing of the eons. Surely the grounds are not maintained by people, but rather by elves and gnomes.

Peaceful and cute I could almost buy, but the stock of interesting and thoughtful grave markers was truly surprising; including a number of homemade displays, of which the steel cross with the calf-roping rider watching over R. Gregorio Rodriguez (1960-2003) is outstanding. The cemetery can’t be more than three acres in size, but given the quality of its markers and location, plays much bigger. If you have a nice day and time to spend, this would be an excellent choice for a picnic. Or…

Tell them I sent you, and tell them I’m sorry for everything I said. I take it back.

Directions:

Drive to the cemetery heads west from Howe Ln. west of Creswell. Howe Ln. heads south from Camas Swale Rd. about a mile west of Creswell. Camas Swale is the main road in town.
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