Below: Victor Jimenez holds his sons Aaron, 6, and Isaac, 19 months, as Celice Jimenez prays Monday over the graves of 10 of their family members buried in Medford’s Eastwood I.O.O.F. Cemetery. Right: Bob Lindstrom of Medford reads the names of people entombed in the mausoleum during a Memorial Day observance Monday at the Eastwood I.O.O.F. Cemetery.

Historic cemetery is a window to Medford's past

MEDFORD — For Celice Jimenez of White City, making the trip to Eastwood Cemetery every year is a family reunion of sorts.

"My mom and dad are here, my dad's brothers, my late husband," she said, looking across the oak-studded hillside. Teary-eyed after placing flowers on the grave of her nephew, Joe Rodriguez, who died soon after he was born in 1978, she said she has 10 vases of fresh flowers to place on relatives' grave sites. There are two additional family members buried in Eastwood, but she's never found their graves.

Jimenez was one of dozens of visitors to the Eastwood Cemetery on Memorial Day. Begun in the 1860s as a day to remember Civil War soldiers, Memorial Day has evolved into one of personal remembrance for loved ones who have died.

The 20-acre Eastwood Cemetery, established by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) (see correction below) in 1890, is located on Siskiyou Boulevard near Highland Drive. Hundreds of Medford's early prominent community members and officials were buried in Eastwood, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Among those are Coyl Johnson, the brakeman for the Southern Pacific Railway Company who was shot in 1923 during the Tunnel 13 robbery south of Ashland, and Frederick Barneburg who planted the first Bartlett pear trees in the Rogue Valley.

Barneburg drowned while fishing on the Rogue River in 1907. Harry and David Holmes, who made their name in the fruit mail-order business, are interred in the mausoleum, as is the Perl family, which established funeral homes in the area.

Vern Weaver and Ellen Niedermeyer of Central Point came Monday with their children and grandchildren to pay respects to a couple generations of Niedermeyers, interred in the mausoleum, including Louis Niedermeyer.

"He's the clan head," said Vern Weaver, who was taking the opportunity to tell his young grandchildren about their ancestors.

Louis Niedermeyer had been a successful farmer and businessman in Medford and built several of the city's largest buildings, including the Holly Theater.

He died in 1942.

The cemetery is managed by the Medford Parks and Recreation Department. Bill Harrington of the parks department oversees the cemetery's maintenance.

Harrington placed markers near the grave sites of some of the well-known names to help people find them.

"A lot of these cemeteries are really viewed as an outdoor museum," he said.

For questions about locating grave sites or a list of dates for public tours, call the parks department at 774-2400.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail

Correction: The original version of this story included an incorrect name for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. This version has been corrected.

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