Friday, October 31, 2008

Greenwood Hills

Greenwood Hills Cemetery


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Just in time for Halloween, here are a few photos from Greenwood Hills Cemetery, a circa-1851 pioneer cemetery in the West Hills, south of downtown Portland. I think visiting on a foggy fall morning worked out a lot better than it did on the recent trip to Nansen Summit. I mean, I suppose cemetery photos with fog and autumn leaves and cobwebs can be, I dunno, a bit formulaic. But still, I think some of them turned out ok.

The monuments here are generally not as extravagant as some you'd see over at Lone Fir, for example, and it's not full of famous people. But Greenwood Hills is kind of interesting in that for a time it was a Masonic cemetery, and a lot of the headstones carry Masonic symbols. I'm told that when one joins up, one swears a rather gory oath not to divulge the secrets of the society, something about having one's throat cut, tongue cut out, etc., etc., rather than spill the beans. And when you move up the ranks, the oath gets even gorier, or so I've heard. History doesn't record whether any of that actually happened to anyone here, but if you happen to be near Greenwood Hills when the zombie apocalypse comes, you can be sure it won't be pretty. Although they might leave you alone if you know the secret handshake, assuming they still have hands.

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

There's more about Greenwood Hills at Graveyards.com and Find-a-Grave.com. Seriously, those are both for real, I swear I'm not making this up.

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

See also "So, You're Dead Already" at Blogging a Dead Horse, and someone's extensive Flickr photoset, and a page of transcribed headstone inscriptions.

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Holly, Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Somewhere here is the recently restored headstone of a an early 20th century Bosnian Muslim immigrant who died in 1951. I think that's what the story says; the Google translation is a bit rough. If you read Bosnian, or Serbo-Croatian, or whatever the language is called these days, the original article is here.

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

And no old cemetery is complete without a ghost story (scroll down a bit to find the Greenwood Hills tale). Ok, so if you're as jaded as I am, you're probably going, "oh, a ghost story about a graveyard, now that's a first". But it's a fun tale, with various spooky goings-on, and a bit of history thrown in. Now, I have to say that nothing weird happened when I was there (granted, this was during the day), and the only things stirring here were a few people walking their dogs and chatting on mobile phones. And I certainly don't really believe any of this stuff anyway. But still, what's the point of sneering at ghost stories on Halloween? Where's the fun in that?

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Greenwood Hills Cemetery

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