Pine Bend Cemetery- Unexpected Find

Posted by Doug Shidell, August 16th, 2010 1 response

For me, part of bike route research is following instincts and researching dead end roads. I’ve frequently found connecting bike trails and useful additions to the map in unexpected places. The Pine Bend Cemetery is one of those surprises. It won’t add anything to the Twin Cities Bike Map, but it is a fascinating find.

I found it by following a suggestion from Dave Olson, my most trusted bike route adviser in the Twin Cities. He was the first to tell me about the new bike trail along Concord Blvd in S. St. Paul and the potential for a connector via the frontage road heading south along Hwy 55. The connector works well, providing a quick exit from Downtown St. Paul towards the Three Rivers Refinery and points to the SE.  My hope, however, was to get all the way to Spring Lake Regional Park and eventually to Hastings, so I slipped past a “Road Closed” sign just to see what was further south.

The road ended at Pine Bend Cemetery, an oasis of tall trees, ankle high grass and the thin white  tombstones that date cemeteries to the 1850s and 1860s.  The white limestone or marble was used extensively in the 1850s because it was easy to carve, but rain slowly dissolves the rock. Later tombstones were made from more durable granite.

Pine Bend Cemetery is about half the size of a football field and only half of the grounds have tombstones and a semi-maintained look. It is fairly typical for old, rural towns, but Pine Bend has been absorbed by the city. Hwy 55 makes a very noisy, and close, neighbor and the refinery looms large across the highway.

That juxtaposition, of a rural cemetery and the noisy trappings of modern society, pulled me back to the cemetery a couple of days later to take photos and wander the grounds.

Had I been able to just look toward the back of the cemetery and block out the traffic noise, I would have lingered longer, but the noise from the highway and the smell of the refinery drove me away. I moved on, but in my mind I still carry that rural cemetery image of a quiet, shaded oasis.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

One Comment to “Pine Bend Cemetery- Unexpected Find”

  1. Tony Roberts Says:

    Pine Bend Cemetery is indeed a nice spot, and if you stick to the cemetery itself you should be OK. It’s my understanding, however, that the land adjacent to the cemetery is owned by the refinery which is quite protective of it. A couple years ago on more that one occasion, some of my friends were run off by refinery security personnel while exploring the area.