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Revitalizing a landmark

by Brian Walker
| April 16, 2010 9:00 PM

RATHDRUM - Pinegrove Cemetery just isn't the same these days. And that's a good thing. Work on 600 feet of a new wrought-iron fence along the historic cemetery's front section on Highway 53 started on Thursday.

RATHDRUM - Pinegrove Cemetery just isn't the same these days.

And that's a good thing.

Work on 600 feet of a new wrought-iron fence along the historic cemetery's front section on Highway 53 started on Thursday.

The fence, which will be erected at the 10-acre site in stages, will replace a chain-link fence that has been there for decades, said Lance Bridges, Rathdrum's Parks and Recreation director.

Bridges said the project, part of an ongoing revitalization overhaul of the cemetery, is something the community can be proud of and a priority for the city and cemetery board.

"It's really neat to see how it's all come together," Bridges said.

The first grave in the cemetery was in 1886. The former town of Westwood, now Rathdrum, was named after Charles Wesley Wood who is buried in the cemetery. The cemetery also has a Chinese section across Meyer Road.

"The Chinese worked on the railroad in the late 1800s," said Cherry Heitstuman, cemetery board member.

Northwest Fence is building the 6-foot fence that's being funded by the city for $9,000.

"As with the Coeur d'Alene cemetery (on Government Way), our intention is to exceed Rathdrum's expectations on their fencing project," Pat Gorman, the company's sales manager, said in a written statement. "It's our privilege to be involved in this event and give back to the community."

The fence is the latest improvement to the cemetery. Others are planned over the next five to 10 years.

Last year an irrigation system was installed in a portion. Landscaping and grass will be added this summer. The cemetery's directory area has also been updated.

"Our five-year plan is to have water in all of the sections," Heitstuman said. "Each year we'll add to it."

Residents and service groups are invited to the cemetery cleanup on May 8 at 10 a.m. Participants should bring rakes. Lunch will be served by the VFW and provided by the cemetery board and city at the Lions Club.

"The cleanup has been going on for so long that second generations are continuing the tradition of taking care of the family plots," Bridges said. "It's neat to watch."

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