Salem Historical Quarterly
Pioneer Cemetery
At the intersection of Commercial and Hoyt Streets


Photograph by Jan Walker
Located at Hoyt and Commercial Streets (1.3 miles south of the Convention Center)

The land on which the cemetery is located was originally part of the David Leslie land claim set aside for family burials. In 1854, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows purchased the land at this location to create a community cemetery. Over the years, The Odd Fellows Rural Cemetery was enlarged to its present size of 16 acres. After nearly a 100 years, I. O. O. F. Chemeketa Lodge No. I relinquished caretaking to local government in the 1950s. The cemetery was maintained irregularly over the next thirty years. Then, in 1986, the deed to what had come to be known as Salem Pioneer Cemetery was officially transferred from the I. O. O. F. to the City of Salem. The cemetery is cared for by the Parks Operations Division with contract and volunteer assistance. Friends of the Pioneer Cemetery was organized in 1985 to raise funds that suppliment the budget for basic maintenance.

The Pioneer Cemetery was the venue for one of Historic Deepwood Estate's celebrated afternoon teas on June 13, 2004. The event marked the cemetery's 150th year as a community burial place. Marge Harding, seen far right in the photograph above, spoke knowledgeably on 19th century mourning customs. Others in period costume portrayed local historical figures interred in the cemetery. Authors Jan Healy and Dean Byrd displayed copies of their comprehensive Oregon Burial Site Guide. A string ensemble from McNary High School provided music. (Source: Friends of Pioneer Cemetery Annual Report, December 31, 2004.)

When You Are Here:
The cemetery is open to visitors. Maps and information are available at the office of
adjoining City View Cemetery, 390 Hoyt Street.

To Learn More:
An article entitled "Hidden Citizens: Blacks in Salem Through the Years" may be found at Marion County Historical Society in Historic Marion, Volume 40, Number 1.

Friends of the Pioneer Cemetery may be contacted at The Salem Foundation, Pioneer Trust Bank, PO Box 2305, Salem, OR 97308.

http://www.open.org/~pioneerc/ will take you to complete information about people buried at this site.


There is also an office in the Salem Public Library. Contact [email protected] or call 503-364-7809 to learn when there will be a volunteer there to answer your questions.