Journeys Around Seattle, #48: Cemeteries

December 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

This is an unusual entry because it combines two short photo excursions-- one that took place at Lake View Cemetery in the summer, and another that I did at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in early December. Thus in the photos, you can tell which is which because the Mount Pleasant Cemetery photos all have a light dusting of snow. There was most definitely no snow in July.

These are two of the most famous cemeteries in Seattle-- one on each side of Lake Union; one near the top of Capitol Hill, the other near the top of Queen Anne Hill. (Lake View and The gravesite of Bruce Lee and his sonThe gravesite of Bruce Lee and his son Mt. Pleasant, respectively.) Lake View is perhaps most famous for containing the grave of Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon Lee. However, it contains many other famous graves as well, including several members of the Denny Party, who helped found Seattle in the 1800s, and Princess Angeline, the daughter of Chief Seattle.

Mt. Pleasant has its own history-- among other things, there is a grave marker for all the Unknown Dead of the SS Valencia, which sank in the "Graveyard of the Pacific" off Vancouver Island in 1906, killing 100 people. There is also a memorial to the dead of the Everett Massacre, SS Valencia MemorialSS Valencia Memorial which I wasn't actually able to find, and several victims of the Wellington Avalanche, the deadliest avalanche in US History.

On the day I visited Mt. Pleasant, it was a cold, clear winter day that afforded views out across Seattle and Lake Washington all the way to the Cascade Range, far to the east. The leaves had fallen off most of the trees, although bright red berries were blooming on some of the trees, which made for an interesting mix of life and death-- as seems apropos for a cemetery. The cold air certainly had me feeling alive as I walked briskly, my feet crunching in the shallow snow as I meandered around trying to find various sites, then eventually headed back for the warmth of the car. Perhaps a cemetery is a bit of an unusual place for a casual walk, but it did make me feel connected to history, much more than probably any other photo expedition I've done this year.



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