Gardiner: Community to decide future of rural cemetery

GARDINER — It lies just above U.S. Highway 101, an oval-shaped hillside of grass punctuated by gray headstones and smooth brass rectangles.

The names carved into the stones and engraved in the metal are those of people who once lived on the slopes below, people who worked in the woods, fished in the bay, raised their families and passed on to leave room for future generations.

Now, the future of their resting place is up in the air.

The cemetery is owned by the Rhododendron Grange, which meets at the Gardiner Community Center, formerly the schoolhouse that served the west side of Discovery Bay.

After holding the deed for 40 years, the Grange has decided to relinquish ownership of the cemetery and is asking local residents to decide the future of their community’s past.

“There’s a strong community feeling about this place,” Robert Minty says. “Not too many people are left from the old pioneer days.”

Minty, whose family has been in the Gardiner area since the 1930s, is a friend of Einar Forsman, head of the Grange cemetery committee.

Minty has been researching the history of the property, originally a burial place for loggers who worked for Herbert Gardner, for whom the community is named.

The post office changed the spelling of the name to Gardiner because there was already a Gardner in the state, Minty says.

In 1966, Rex McInnis, who bought the Gardner farm, handed the cemetery over to the local Grange.

——————-

A COMMUNITY FORUM on the future ownership of Gardiner Cemetery will be held March 22 at 7 p.m. at the Gardiner Community Center on U.S. Highway 101.

The agenda will cover the history of the property, its current and future capacity, and the pros and cons of options.

For more information, call Bob Minty, 360-797-8742.

Peninsula Daily News

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