For the first time in more than a century, the Historic Nehalem American Legion Cemetery is completely fenced in.
“I always wanted to do something with the boundary of the cemetery,” Cemetery Project Coordinator Valerie Vines Magee said.
Now, a cedar split rail boundary fence measuring about 1,000 line feet surrounds the historic site.
As volunteers with NVHS worked to restore and protect family plots in the cemetery, some of which date back to 1899, a need was identified to protect the site with boundary fencing, according to a press release from Nehalem Valley Historical Society (NVHS). A design to complement the historic and active cemetery was created and a partnership was established with the City of Nehalem, the Tillamook County Cultural Coalition (TCCC), and the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries.
The $20,000 project was made possible with partnership funding established from the city, TCCC, and Historic Commission.
“The state was really integral with coming up with grant matches,” Magee said.
A local contractor was selected and recently completed work.
“It was a pleasure to work with LeRoy Heppner of Eagle Landscape Services on this project,” Magee said, “LeRoy and his crew took the time and care necessary to install a beautiful end product that will serve as a protective backdrop to a very special and scenic setting. The City of Nehalem was instrumental in supporting the project and continues to support our efforts to clean, repair, and protect historic monuments and plots at the cemetery.”
With Heppner’s work, what fencing existed – old chain-link – was removed.
“It was nice to see it go,” Magee laughed.
A new season of weekly volunteer work, sponsored by NVHS, begins May 12 with the SOLVE cemetery cleanup – after that event, work resumes 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday through summer and early fall.
“Especially if you like working with mature shrubs and trees, it’s very satisfying,” Magee said. “And as you work, you get to learn a lot about the history of the area.”
Recently at its annual conference, the Oregon Heritage Commission awarded project leader Magee the Sally Donovan Award for Historic Cemeteries for leading work efforts at the cemetery.
For more information, contact Valerie Vines Magee at [email protected].