Spend the afterlife in historic Eastwood

I was looking through the city of Medford's ordinances on its website (I know, get a life) when I came across some interesting information about the historic Eastwood Cemetery. It listed prices for grave plots ($250 to $500) and crypts ($500 to $800). Is that an outdated ordinance or are there still grave sites available? I thought the cemetery was filled with pioneers and didn't realize there might still be space there.

— Lewis H., Medford

Feeling poorly or just planning ahead, Lewis? Well, in either case, you're in luck because, yes, there still are grave and crypt sites available and, yes, the price still is relatively inexpensive.

We passed your question along to the city and were put in touch with Bev Powers, who in addition to being a customer service specialist and volunteer coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department, also is the sexton and records clerk for the city-owned Eastwood Cemetery.

She told us there indeed are spaces available in the cemetery and its mausoleum, which are situated off Siskiyou Boulevard just west of Highland Drive in east Medford. A cemetery space is $400, she said, with mausoleum crypts priced between $500 and $700, depending (like all real estate) on the location.

That's a pretty fair price, from what we can tell. The nearby Siskiyou Memorial Gardens charges $1,500 for a cemetery space. Not all cemeteries are created equal, and Eastwood tends to be a bit more rustic, as befits a pioneer cemetery. We don't know if the grass is greener on the "other side" in this case, but Siskiyou Memorial's definitely is.

Nevertheless, Eastwood offers you and yours the opportunity to be laid to rest in a site that's listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site officially was designated a cemetery in 1890, after the I.O.O.F. Lodge bought the land — about 20 acres — for $700 from Frederick and Electa Barneburg. The Barneburg family previously had interred two family members on the hillside in 1878 and 1883. The city took over ownership in 1972, after the lodge said it could no longer afford the cost.

There are numerous notables buried on the hillside, including Charles "Coyl" Johnson, a brakeman killed in the Tunnel 13 train robbery in 1923; George J. Prescott, a Medford constable who was killed in 1933 when he tried to arrest a man for illegally interfering in an election; Frederick Barneburg, credited with planting the valley's first Bartlett pear trees in 1856; and Sheriff August D. Singler, killed in 1913 while trying to arrest a suspect.

As for available space, Powers says the city's records show there are 3,140 spaces and 85 crypts still available.

So, Lewis, if you want to check into a spot where you could check out for eternity, you can call the city at 541-774-2400. There's also a lot of interesting information about the cemetery — including a list of who's buried there — on the city's website, under Parks and Recreation Department.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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