Port Blakely Cemetery

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History

Established in 1880.

Exploring the cultural history of a place like Blakely Cemetary is important because one must understand the history of the people who inhabited a place to completely understand a place – “Sense of Place” curriculum allows students to understand what was happening here before we arrived on the scene.
• Large stand of Douglas fir encircle the cemetery. Logging was avoided in the area immediately surrounding it.
• Segregation of gravesites: Caucasians in the center; Jewish along the south or left side; Japanese scattered, but mainly to the far right or north side; Native Americans were not allowed to be buried in the cemetery, but there are unmarked gravesites on perimeter of the property.
• Many headstones represent a tree or log as an artistic representation; “Here lies the world’s greatest woodsman”; doves, a wood hatchet, and ivy were the symbols of the Woodsman of the World, a fraternal benefit company that assured that "no Woodsman shall rest in an unmarked grave." The phrase Dum tacet, clamat (Latin: “Though silent, he speaks” is often found on these gravestones. The Woodsman of the World still exists as an insurance company read more about them here.
• Dix Disaster: (1906) 42 people were killed when a passenger freighter named “Dix” collided with another ship just off Blakely Rock. Mill shut down for two days out of respect. Read about the Dix Disaster here.

 

Safety Considerations

Do not allow running in the cemetery. Watch primarily for emotional responses to being here. Check in with your chaperone/s in advance to ensure that they are comfortable with the visit, then recruit them to help you keep an eye on the kids and ensure the respectful lightness and educational quality of the experience.