Fallbrook Pioneer Odd Fellows Cemetery – Fallbrook, California - Atlas Obscura

Fallbrook, California

Fallbrook Pioneer Odd Fellows Cemetery

Famous and forgotten figures lie beneath the faded headstones and decaying planks of wood. 

Though its grounds hold the bones of several prominent local pioneer figures, this cemetery has a lonely, forgotten feel. Faded crosses and crumbling headstones stand amid tufts of tangled grass, often concealing the identities of those buried below.

Used as a community burial site as far back as 1886, the current three-acre plot of land was given to the local Odd Fellows Lodge in 1904 by F.W. Bartlett and hence received its official name. A strange assortment of hand-etched headstones and decaying planks of wood adorned with unrecognizable names mark many of the hillside graves.

But not all those who lie beneath the faded graves were obscured into annonymity. Visiting the cemetery reveals that it’s the resting place of a handful of historical figures. Among the deceased residents are Sergeant William Pittenger and United States Congressman Samuel Fleming Barr. 

Sergeant Pittenger was one of the first Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor recipients for his participation in the “Andrews Raid,” which was a failed plan to hijack a Confederate train and destroy bridges along the way. The decorated soldier passed in 1904, and his grave remained unmarked as a Medal of Honor recipient until the local historical society petitioned for and received a proper military headstone in 1988. Barr served as a Republican member of the 47th and 48th Congress; he retired and relocated to Fallbrook, where he died at 89 years of age.

Unfortunately, because maintenance was left up to the family members of the deceased, the graveyard has fallen into a state of disrepair as many of those responsible for its upkeep have either moved away or died.

Know Before You Go

Limited parking on the street near the entrance of the cemetery.