History of Fir Grove

Additional land was eventually acquired, bringing the cemetery to just under 30 acres in size, and beginning the process of restoration and expansion. Fir Grove Cemeteries, Inc. was later converted to a privately-operated perpetual care cemetery. Wally Robertson operated the Cemetery for three decades and was instrumental in its transformation and development. Wally later sold Fir Grove to Pamela and David Arnold in the 1980’s.

In 1997, Fir Grove Cemetery was purchased by the Lund family, owners of the local funeral establishment. It was re-organized as a subsidiary of Smith-Lund-Mills Funeral Chapel & Crematorium and the business office was moved to Smith-Lund-Mills. The Lund’s have continued Fir Grove’s restoration, making numerous improvements to the cemetery over the years. In 2004 the newest section, The Cascade Addition, was established. It includes a range of options for permanent placement of cremated remains. The signature features are the Columbarium’s nestled into the hillside, The Book of Remembrance, and the addition of more in-ground burial locations for urns and casketed remains. 

A walk-through Fir Grove Cemetery tells the story of Cottage Grove’s golden past. Fir Grove is a special place, located on rolling hills west of town and punctuated with its namesake towering old growth Douglas Fir trees. With over 150 years of history, the area’s largest cemetery is a record of our community founders and the people who helped make Cottage Grove and its surrounding communities what they are today.

The Cemetery’s most famous interment is U.S. Senator, Benjamin Franklin Harding, active in the Oregon Territory and after Oregon joined the Union in 1859 The Cemetery is also home to one of the area’s only Civil War monuments, honoring veterans and fallen soldiers. 

Fir Grove was originally organized in 1869 by the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, Lodge #51, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Oregon Lodge #68. The Masonic and IOOF Cemeteries were also known as Cottage Grove Cemetery. Their earliest known burial is Lucy A. Porter in 1861, which predates the establishment of the cemeteries.

In early 1962, Fir Grove Cemeteries, Inc. was organized as a not-for-profit corporation for the purpose of establishing a perpetual care for the existing plot holders. The Masonic and IOOF Lodges transferred their interest in the cemetery shortly after the new corporation was organized.