|Becky Oswald, our informative tour guide, standing at the Hawthorne Monument|
One of the more interesting stories I heard was about Dr. James Hawthorne, the namesake of my region of Portland. Dr. Hawthorne, of course, established the Oregon Hospital for the Insane in 1858. Back then, people were committed for all kinds of reasons. Any behavior that made society uncomfortable might provide the justification. Everything from dementia to epilepsy to retardation to palsy fell under the all-embracing rubric of "insanity."
|Close up of Hawthorne Memorial|
Nor was Dr. Hawthorne's hospital some grim and final destination. People were admitted and released. Commitment was not a life sentence.
Of course, not all of the 500 patients that went into Dr. Hawthorne's hospital came out. Some died without family or means to provide for their interment. In those cases, Dr. Hawthorne, who promised his patients a decent burial, himself arranged to have them laid to rest... in Lone Fir Cemetery.
|Headstone of the Good Doctor, himself|
If you're interested, the tour occurs at 10AM on the second Saturday of every month. Suggested donation is $10. All funds raised thusly go to maintaining the Lone Fir Cemetery. You can learn more by contacting Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery: 503-224-9200. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.