Forest Cemetery: Peaceful and orderly

Coeur d’Alene Press| January 30, 2021 1:00 AM

Excerpted from Coeur d’Alene’s Parks and Recreation 24-page “Walking Tour of The Forest Cemetery”

Over 140 years ago, the U.S. Army established a 1-acre cemetery for Fort Sherman near what we know today as Government Way. When the fort was decommissioned in 1900, the bodies of 37 soldiers and their families were moved to Fort George Wright in Spokane. In 1905, the U.S. government, under President Teddy Roosevelt, deeded the “Old Post” cemetery and an adjoining 19.7 acres to the city of Coeur d’Alene. This beautiful space became Forest Cemetery.

In 1968 the city of Coeur d’Alene acquired another 8 acres across Lincoln Way, called Riverview Cemetery.

Currently, the administration of both cemeteries is under the care of Coeur d’Alene’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Many local notables are buried in Forest Cemetery. First of interest is the grave of Captain Peter C. Sorenson, “the father of Coeur d’Alene boating.” In 1880, he built the first steamboat to ply the lake’s waters, the “Amelia Wheaton.”

He named many of the bays and headlands seen on today’s charts of the lake. He also built the steamboats “General Sherman,” “Volunteer,” “Schley” and the “Torpedo.” He died in 1918 at the age of 85.

Next is Fredrick Blackwell. His impact on the Coeur d’Alene region was enormous and long-lived. He is credited with developing the local timber and railroad industries. His impact on the city included City Park, and building the town sites of Spirit Lake, Idaho, and Ione, Wash. He died in 1922, age 70.

“Commodore” Joseph Clarence White, a civil engineer, came to Coeur d’Alene in 1887 to build roads, railroads, steamboats and a beautiful mansion which was recently rescued from destruction by the Museum of North Idaho and moved the base of Tubbs Hill in 2019. His death occurred at age 88 in 1953. He is buried with his wife.

Edward C. Pulaski gained national fame as the forest ranger in Wallace from 1910 to 1930 who saved 40 firefighters trapped by the “Big Blowup” August, 1910, and for inventing the “Pulaski.” This firefighting tool has both an ax and hoe at the handle’s end. It is still in use today.

Burl C. and Beverly Hagadone were more recent notables buried in Forest Cemetery. They made an impact by way of newspaper publisher and radio founder. Their lifelong commitment to the advancement of Coeur d’Alene is memorable.

In order to do justice to the historical impact of the cemetery, one needs to take the walking tour as outlined in the Coeur d’Alene Parks and Recreation 24 page “Walking Tour of The Forest Cemetery,” available on the internet.

The Museum of North Idaho has a new form on its website for artifact and photo donation submissions. If you have items you are interested in donating, please go to to register them. We will take good care of your donation for future generations.


Compiled by Richard Sheldon. Edited by Deborah Mitchell.