tillamook ioof cemetery
Bless the Odd Fellows hearts for pouring out so many cemeteries. This one is quite typical, giving rest to many prominent early Tillamookers (or “muckers,” as the case may be) without a lot of attention to aesthetics. Give them credit, though, for having erected a mausoleum on a low corner near the entrance, an unusual nod to modernity in fraternal cemeteries. Other than the slope at the front, this is a flat, open, six-acre cemetery adorned with one cedar and one rhody and the largest collection of white bronze markers I’ve encountered. There must be approaching fifty. It has been speculated that the white bronze company went out of business for, while having a demonstrable superior product, they were unable to sell enough to support a salesperson. That could well be the case anywhere but here. This collection is phenomenal. None is particularly large, but their sheer number is astounding.

There are two coastal valleys large enough to have an agricultural significance: the Coquille River Valley and the Tillamook Bowl, a nearly round, flat valley at the end of five rivers. It’s smaller and more concentrated than its southern competitor, but its tenacious devotion to its industry have made its cheese a national brand, unlike Bandon, which has never achieved a similar fame.

Not only is the Tillamook Basin smaller than the Coquille Valley, but the mountains surrounding it are steeper, tougher, and climb right out of the valley floor. The valleys behind these hills are too small to have notable farming, and few people live outside the basin proper. Midwesterners will appreciate the fine slip of Jersey ammonia sliding through the air here. Locals will tell you it’s the smell of money. Or cheese. Same thing.

The tourist flock to the towns north and south of here, but Tillamook stays resolutely working-class. The fishing and logging have bottomed out, but the cows are still here and the place still floods every year. The Tillamook Indians were their own people, too, and it’s rumored than a boatload of Japanese fishermen shipwrecked here prior to the arrival of the whites, and that their traces could still be seen in the faces of the natives when the Euro-Americans first arrived. In case of a tsunami, kiss the basin goodbye.


South of Hwy. 6 (1st St.) on the east end of Tillamook, between it and 3rd St. If you're on Hwy 6, turn south at Wilson River Loop and it will take you past the cemetery.
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