Rathdrum History #5, Chinese Cemetery LbNA # 34890
|Owner||North Idaho Girls|
|Placed Date||Sep 5 2007|
In the late 1800's, a railroad was built through Rathdrum. This railroad made Rathdrum into one of the biggest towns in North Idaho and was a major reason for making it the Kootenai County Seat for many years. This railroad, like many built in those days, was built by many Chinese Immigrants. It was backbraking and dangerous work and many men died while building the railroad. Because of racial discrimination, the Chinese were not allowed to be buried in the "white cemetery" in Rathdrum as was usually the case. They were buried in an unmarked area next to it. Since they were not allowed to be in the cemetery in the 1800's, we can at least put the letterbox remembering them there today.
On highway 53 leaving Rathdrum towards the east, is the only Rathdrum Cemetery. Located across the street from Super 1 and Perfection Tires. Travel past the Pinegrove Cemetery and take the next left at the Lion's Club. Pull into their parking lot. You'll see a split rail fence surrounding a small sign. Here is where the Chinese laborers were buried and went for so many years unmarked, forgotten and part of the parking lot.
Walk across the road (the one you came off the highway onto)to the chain link fence that surrounds Pinegove Cemetery and follow it north to the gate. As you enter the cemetery its appropriate to go over some cemetery ediquette: do not touch any memorials or artifacts, appreciate the memorials as they are. Do not add to, take away from, or modify a memorial in any way. Do not intrude on funeral or memorial services. Teach your children to respect cemeteries. Running, playing, and noisy activities are not appropriate in cemeteries.
Make and immediate left and follow the chain link fence down the side of the cemetery. You can park and do this on foot. Pass a row of lilacs, Lindstroms grave, some smaller spruce and fir trees. Directly across from the Chinese Cemetery is the grave of Eddie Nunnally. From Eddie's headstone walk directly east back toward the Chinese cemetery until you come to a fir tree. Follow that fir tree north to the next fir tree. You will find the letterbox hanging from that tree. You do not have to dig to find this box. Stand here and look across the fence to the sad cemetery and remember how far we have come. Please close the lid well so the rain doesn't get in.