jones pioneer cemetery
Metro runs fourteen pioneer cemeteries, of which two are definitely in the “hidden” category: Mountain View Stark and Jones. Which in some ways makes those two, and Jones in particular, especially attractive. Being secluded keeps out the riffraff. Jones has all the earmarks of a rescued cemetery, one once forgotten but now returned to the fold. Underneath a park-like setting of large old trees, a handful of stones scatter themselves about as if none was too friendly with the other. Families cluster together, but there’s a lot of spare room under the canopy.

There are, though, new graves, with a few clever souls having found their way to this sanctuary stuck behind Sylvan Hill Church. You have to drive around to the back of the church where there’s a parking lot and then drive to the furthest end of the parking lot before it’s evident there’s a cemetery beyond. One step through the gate, though, and you enter into a world apart which you have all to yourself (at least I’ve never encountered anyone else there).

Once you’ve found Jones Pioneer you’ll find that hidden within this cemetery is another, even more hidden, because it’s unsigned, cemetery, Havurah Shalom (q.v.). (There is another Jewish cemetery within a Metro Pioneer cemetery, over at Douglas Pioneer in Gresham.) Jones occupies 3.25 acres of which Havurah Shalom can’t use more than a fourth or fifth.

The entrance sign says the cemetery was established in 1872, but other sources credit the father of one Nathan Jones having been buried here in 1854, after an attack which took him a week to die. His assailant was acquitted, which may or may not say something about Mr. Jones, Sr. It does, though, point up the difficulty of dating cemeteries: there’s often more than one “founding” date, the result, I suspect, of the date of the first burial often preceding the date of the decision to use the place as a cemetery. It brings up the question, which we won’t debate here, of just what constitutes a cemetery?

Directions:

Take the Sylvan exit from Hwy. 26 and head south towards Scholls Ferry Rd. Immediately south of the viaduct over Hwy. 26, at the intersection of Humphrey and Hewell, is the driveway for Sylvan Hill Church. Take that drive and go around to the parking lot behind the church. At the far end of the lot there is a gate through the hedge. Behind the gate is Jones Pioneer; and within Jones Pioneer, in the back right-hand corner, is Havurah Shalom.
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