5th Street Cemetery

Also known as Pioneer Park Cemetery

Location
Lewiston, Nez Perce County, Idaho, USA
Memorials 9 added

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Brief Cemetery History taken from the "Teller" an early Lewiston newspaper

January 13, 1887
City council is petitioned to move the cemetery from Fifth Street. (Present day location of Pioneer Park)

May 26, 1887
Suggested that the cemetery be moved to East Lewiston

November 1, 1888
New Cemetery now Platted (area now known as Normal Hill Cemetery)

December 27, 1888
Charles, son of Lot Wiggin, was the first burial in the new cemetery

March 28, 1889
Moving of 5th Street Cemetery

Normal Hill Cemetery Div 3, 1914
Normal Hill Cemetery, Division 3
Year 1914

April 18, 1889
Need for more removals from 5th Street Cemetery.

July 18, 1889
W.B. Cooper is busy laying water pipe from Snake River up to new cemetery.
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The earliest known burial in Lewiston took place in 1867, with the death of Rebecca Newell (left), who was born 1832. Most certainly, other graves predated her interment, but records are sparse for this period before 1870. No church records date to that period. The cemetery had been placed on a flat and barren bench some 150 feet above the level of the city. A vintage photograph of the city reminds one of the "Boot Hill" stereotype of an old west town. (See the Gallery.)

Access to the cemetery was difficult for wheeled vehicles, requiring either a steep climb on an ungraded "road" (eventually an extension of 5th Street) or a round-about path to the west via "G" Street (now 3rd Avenue), where a wagon road intersected Snake River Avenue, then a popular residential area among Lewiston's wealthy. The cemetery's location suffered from a lack of a water supply and was located in an undeveloped city subdivision, although streets had been platted and lots surveyed for future use. Quite frankly, no one wanted to build nearby if water and power were unavailable.

At least one church ledger (Episcopal) refers to three separate cemeteries existing in the area platted for funereal purposes: City, Masonic and Jewish. By 1875 a surveyed plat had been prepared and recorded with the county assessor. (See the Gallery.) A picket fence had been installed by 1880 to serve as a boundary, but the upkeep of the grounds was minimal.

By the late 1880's the cemetery had fallen into such a poor state of repair that the local newspaper, The Lewiston Teller, complained in April 1889: "Gates in bad repair... Cattle frequently get in and destroy and knock down graves and tombstones." After much debate, a new site was chosen some 12 city block south. Platted by the spring of 1888, the new cemetery's first burial was for 22-year-old spinal meningitis victim Charles Wiggin on 14 November 1888. In March 1889, the first recorded exhumations took place.

Idaho became the 43rd State in July 1890.
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Many thanks to Steven D. Branting for spearheading the 5th Street Cemetery Project and providing the information for it's inclusion on findagrave.
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GPS Coordinates: 46.41884, -117.02644

  • Added: 27 Jan 2015
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2567242