Filed Under Helena

Forestvale Cemetery

In 1889, the year Montana became a state, the growing city of Helena realized its need for a cemetery in addition to the three sponsored by religious bodies. A group of investors purchased these 160 acres, which a local newspaper called “bleak and unattractive and too remote” from town—it was two and a half miles away from Helena, treeless and covered only by prairie grass. But the Helena Cemetery—as Forestvale was called until 1901—was landscaped by civil engineer Harry V. Wheeler in a park-like style, including a small artificial lake centered with a tiny island. Since drained of water, the lake is visible today as a depression in the ground. Here are buried many pioneer public figures of Montana—from Vigilante leader and U.S. Marshal John X. Biedler to Methodist missionary “Brother Van” William Van Orsdel, who preached in mining camp saloons and founded some 50 churches—as well as many prominent political and business figures who helped build both Helena and Montana. The “China Row” section, located outside the formal cemetery plat at the northwestern corner, recalls Helena’s once-thriving, but segregated, Chinese community.

Images

Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Stone entrance gate, looking northwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Front to side view of the office building, facing southwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. View of the Broadwater plot, facing east to southeast. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. View of the Kessler plot, facing north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Broadwater family plot in the Lakeside section, facing west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Kessler family plot in the Evergreen section, facing north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. View of the Wilbur Fisk Sanders grave stone, facing north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Fergus family plot in the Evergreen section, facing north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Kleinschmidt family plot in the Evergreen section, facing north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Holter obelisk in the Greenlawn section, facing south. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. View of the pump house and garage, looking west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Overview of the Woodlawn section, facing north. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Overview of the Valley View section, facing west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. View of the Arbor section, facing northwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. View of the receiving vault, facing west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. View of the machine shed, facing west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988
Forestvale Cemetery
Forestvale Cemetery Forestvale Cemetery. Overview of the Glendale section, facing west to northwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Dorothy Wells Date: Summer 1988

Location

490 Forestvale Road, Helena, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Forestvale Cemetery,” Historic Montana, accessed April 14, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/803.