The Nehalem Valley Historical Society (NVHS) installed several civil war medallions at the Historic Nehalem American Legion Cemetery on Tuesday, August 13 at 5:30 p.m.

Val Vines Magee has led NVHS cemetery beautification efforts. She first became interested in the cemetery restoration when she found the grave of Manzanita city founder and developer, Ben Lane. She started out by seeking grant money for the project through the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation/ Oregon Heritage Commission. She has been brining people to the cemetery for a few years now and has had the support of the City of Nehalem.

In 2018, NVHS sponsored a program in which Manzanita’s mayor, Mike Scott, spoke about Oregon’s role in the American Civil War.

“He asked questions of our society about civil war vets that are buried there,” said Tom Campbell, President of NVHS. “Lyla Hendrickson and Val answered his questions and Mike did some work of his own and we learned about those civil war vets that are interred there.”

Magee has since won the Sally Donovan Award for Historic Cemetery Beautification. The award also came from the Oregon Heritage Commission. The grant money funded a new split rail fence around the cemetery.

This year, Eileen Nordquist came up with the idea to have the special grave markers added to the cemetery. Nordquist priced out the markers and sought funding through the City of Nehalem. The city council agreed to pay the amount and the NVHS ordered them. These medallions are star-shaped and were placed on eight civil war vets’ graves. The city halls of Manzanita and Nehalem were notified of this event.

The planning of the markers was attended by Val Vines Magee, Nehalem City Public Works Director Brian Moore, Joe Balden, and Eileen Nordquist. Moore has taken his own interest in the project and his enthusiasm has grown and grown.

“It was really good to see him come to help, not as the Public Works Director, but as a volunteer,” said Campbell.

NVHS is proud to have such dedicated volunteers, said Campbell. Work parties occur on alternating Monday mornings starting at 9:30 a.m. The next one is August 26. You can contact NVHS at info@nehalemvalleyhistory.org.

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