The Parkview Cemetery backed up to the back end of my dad’s property, with Ralph Siple’s 20 acres between us part way. We knew Ralph Siple, the caretaker, for his working lifetime, very well. Not only as a neighbor, but he was our bus driver for all my school years.
Mrs Siple always had the most beautiful gardens.
The back twenty of the current Cemetery was where the Siples lived. He farmed that twenty. Was in prunes for over twenty years. In the 30s Siple had a tractor which most of us could not afford. Apparently his cemetery maintenance deal enabled him to buy a tractor.
When Siple retired and the next door neighbor, Albert Garner took over the maintenance. Siple sold to Lingal who sold it to the Cemetary district for future cemetary growth. They moved Siple’s house away, and it was all turned to farm ground–a reserve. The Siples retired down Pocatello way. I talked with them in 1994. Albert garner lived by the SW corner of the cemetery, and now that he too is gone, the county has incorporated his farm into the cemetery district as well. I baled hay over much of that reserve land for years. Garner shared our water lateral, and we had the usual bickering over water. Since he was upstream of us, he got first dubs on it, and we had to make him be fair! Fairness, of course, is in the eye of the bolder! His idea of fair could be ludicrous!
As a boy, I loved to go over and read all the headstones — I knew nearly all of them or their families. At first the cemetery had a grove of beautiful Elms, and the first graves (the oldest) were under the trees. About the early 40s, they ran out of room under the trees and so began the northern segment (no trees), Then when that filled, they began to use the front (within the crescent drive). Before that the crescent was not maintained at all — just weed and gopher infested waste land. It certainly is a much prettier place now the crescent area is maintained. Mom bought all her kids a lot there.
The big Elms and all that grass made a Robins’ paradise. Robins are programmed to take advantage of cherry season. At any given moment of the day you could see what I called the Robin Express — a line of Robins flying to or from our cherry trees, only 1,000 ft away! They would peck at the cherries until one came off in their beak, then fly away with it. But they might peck several others that didn’t come loose — and of course that ruined that fruit. After the young fledged, you could look into their nests — full to overflowing with cherry pits!
After Ralph Siple’s retirement, his land was sold to Lingells — who immediately sold it to the cemetery district. When Ralph heard that they planned to remove all the trees, he said that was too bad, because then they would find out why he had planted them to begin with! Windbreak, shade, and beauty. He had spent most of his life to that date mowing the grass under and around those trees — sure to have been a huge job, and made much, much harder by the trees. The place has never been the same, now not so attractive, pretty, nor inviting.
The huge old Elms eventually made such a chore out of cutting the grass and destroying monuments that they were all cut down ~early 50s–all over the country. This sort of clearing trees from cemeteries was like a disease running rampant everywhere about that time. It was such a shame to see — the cemeteries had been just like parks and attracted many folks at Memorial Day — my mom’s favorite holiday! Cemeteries before the 50s were really parks. After they cut all the trees, we seldom went there anymore — it was just hot, and no longer attractive. I thoroughly understand the maintenance issue. However, now with every maintenance item mechanized I wouldn’t think it very difficult.
The Board of County Commissioners held a vote in Pioneer Hall on August 4, 1937 to determine whether or not there should be organized a cemetery Maintenance District to be known as “Park View Cemetery Maintenance District.” The vote was 54 for, 1 against. So 55 properties — at that time — were to bear the maintenance costs of the cemetery. Most likely this has changed since then as the property has been expanded.
Note that the Catholics elected to purchase their own part of the Parkview Cemetery’s original 40 acres, and consecrated it separately.