On March 16th, 2020, the City Council of Astoria, Oregon unanimously approved the Ocean View Cemetery Master Plan. This comprehensive Plan was prepared by the Vancouver office of LEES+Associates with support from the Portland office of David Evans Associates Ltd and was intended to help foster sustainable operation and development of Astoria’s remarkable, 123-year-old cemetery.
Ocean View Cemetery is situated on an aging sand dune about 2 km. from the Oregon Coast. The rolling site contains a 1915 community mausoleum designed by renowned Portland architect, Ellis F. Lawrence, and an intriguing 30’ tall conical mound set within the Civil War veterans’ burial section. While there are no known burials inside the mound, it features a set narrow set of steps leading to a flagpole and memorial plaque at its apex, from which there are panoramic views over the site and its Cemetery Lake.
Near the end of the project, the LEES+Associates design team came across an image suggesting that Ocean View’s original landscape architects had borrowed the idea of a conical mound from a strikingly similar feature at The Mound Cemetery, in Marietta Ohio.
The Marietta cemetery was constructed around a burial mound (or “barrow”), which had been built by the indigenous Adena people that had inhabited the area from about 100 BC to 500 AD. This ancient landform is reported to contain prehistoric human remains and is believed to be the last of many similar mounds that were once scattered across the American Midwest.
The Marietta mound was saved from destruction Marietta pioneers, who chose to to establish a cemetery around it. They surrounded the landform with the graves of more Revolutionary soldiers than are buried in any cemetery in the country. The Marietta cemetery, with its iconic mound, remains active to this day.
As cemetery designers, finding hidden connections like this is among the greatest pleasures of our work— always amazing “hidden treasures” to discover!