Road trip to Wilhelm Portland Memorial

This might be a great place to start our origin story.

September 23rd, 2017. A road trip to Portland, Oregon from Seattle, Washington.

Just us girls in Michelle’s little Fiat, precious escape from work and any excuse to get out of town for my birthday. Dry and sunny weather made for easy traveling outside the cities.

Michelle describes herself as a, “gypsy punk, exploring quite places.” I have been lucky to be her exploring buddy on many a trip.

Her talent of remembering history and stories of the places and people has long been something I admire about her.

We arrived at Wilhelm Portland Memorial in the early afternoon and proceeded to explore the historic building.

Founded in 1901, Wilhelm Portland Memorial is the “largest and oldest indoor cemetery west of the Mississippi.” There is a population of 90,000 people laid to rest within the 10 floors at Wilhelm.

The mausoleum used to be open to the public, but became private in the ‘00s after a rash of copper thefts. Thieves were stealing name placards, flower sconces and other items off the property.

Not only is this indoor cemetery the biggest mausoleum I have seen, in person to date, it is also where Michelle has a relative interred and thus our visit. The 70s couches, copper flower trash cans and hand painted (1000s of square feet! HUGE!) mural are weaved together with polished marble, beautiful fountains and spiral staircases.

We ended our self guided exploratory tour at her relatives marker. This felt like the perfect place to leave my birthday rose that I had with me from the second date with Matt…. that I had been toting around with me for 2 days, across 2 states and giddily sniffing it’s soft fragrance while road tripping.

Wilhelm Portland Memorial

FUN FACT: Wilhelm Portland Memorial houses one of two true marble replicas of Michelangelo’s Pieta weighing 9000 pounds. The marble comes from the same quarry as the original!

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