Comet Lodge Cemetery – Part One

There was once a 5 acre cemetery on the East side of Boeing Field that has a sad and disrespected history.

Comet Lodge No. 139
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is located on S Graham Street, on Beacon Hill’s western slope. An suspected 800 pioneers are said to be buried here, but only 424 souls are documented on the original cemetery roster. Over a 100 of them infants in an area once called “babyland”.

This site was originally used by the Duwamish nation and the early white settlers referred to this area as the “Old Burial Grounds”.

The property was deeded to the Maple family under the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) on 9/24/1895 as a graveyard in King County. People were buried up until 1930s. Last recorded burial was 9/21/36.

Most of the cemetery is now occupied by 11 houses, the paved roads of 23rd Avenue South and all of 22nd Avenue South. These structures were built on top of “babyland” and other graves sites.

Piles of headstone bases

Yep, you heard me correctly, but let me say it again:

THESE STRUCTURES WERE BUILT ON TOP OF GRAVES. THE HEADSTONES REMOVED FROM THE PROPERTY, BUT NO BODIES RELOCATED.

The only space that resembles the once large “cemetery” is now the neighborhood dog park with a terrible concrete sign bearing the name “Comet Lodge Cemetery”. It’s a grassy area, dotted with older conifers with randomly scattered and broken headstones that aren’t representing any physical location of anyone. This sad result is due to the City of Seattle bulldozing the remaining burial grounds on November 2, 1987 to accommodate the new sewer line they were putting in.

The people buried under incorrect headstones.

The command of the IOOF is to”visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.” But history shows that none of these were put into practice at Comet Lodge.

How does a cemetery end up being a housing development and dog park? What caused the IOOF, the City of Seattle and King County to let this happen?

Talkeetna, AK – Gateway to Denali

Mt Foraker, Hunter and Denali
Mt. Foraker, Hunter and Denali

Talkeetna, AK is the gateway to Denali. All climbers must start their adventure here. Since 1992, 75 mountaineers from 13 countries who have lost their lives on Denali, Foraker or Hunter are memorialized in the Talkeetna Cemetery.

Ice Axe Grave Marker
Prop Plane Propeller Grave Markers

When we visited in 2016, I noticed the headstones were very creative. Some markers were airplane propellers. There was also a few pairs of ice axes. They must have been approved by the Mayor… By the way did you know the Mayor of Talkeetna is a cat?

Burton A. Burton

In the misty morning after a birthday celebratory weekend for Matt we waited out the line for the ferry by visiting a local cemetery. MtBaker Cemetery

It was classic foggy cemetery scenery. So many movies came to mind. You could smell the moss and my ankles were wet from walking through the grass.

My favorite headstone was of a man who’s headstone lists his first and last name as exactly the same. Someday I’d love to find out if that is indeed his real legal name: Burton A. Burton – the engraved photo was epic to boot. It felt like he was pointing and staring right at you.

Links to marker and grave finder sites included below. Let me know if you find him, or more info on him!

The other two landmarks I really liked were the history museum and the stone tower.

The history museum was made out of authentic pioneer one room cabins. Six cabins were moved close together and an outer building was built over them. They had so many cool antique relics. You can here interviews of some of the residents in a voices library. Click on the link to hear their stories.

I supported the museum by purchasing a donation brick that will get engraved for Matt. We were there on his official birthday and it will have a “happy birthday!” message to him that he can go back and see in the path to the entrance.

The stone tower was built in 1936 and reminded me of what I imagine the inside of real castles (bucket list*) to be like.

Visit San Juans, “Mt. Constitution atop the 2,409-foot-high Mt. Constitution, the highest point on the San Juan Islands, there stands a stone observation tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. The tower offers panoramic views of surrounding islands, the Cascade Mountains and a variety of Canadian and American cities. Inside the tower, a historical display tells the story of the tower’s construction and the history of Robert Moran, the shipbuilder and former Seattle mayor who donated this land beginning in 1911, and worked toward the development of the park, which was dedicated in 1921. A gift shop and learning center operated by the Friends of Moran offers maps, unique gifts, cards and information about the park and its fascinating past.”

Overall it was healthy to slow down and appreciate the, “island time” as they say in this area. Cheers to another year of good friends and family. Cheers to one more beautiful hike to the top of a mountain where perspectives realign with serenity.

Oh! And cheers to you, Burton A. Burton with your intriguing name and headstone of epicness.

By: HollyBerry

Photos by: HollyBerry

Markers

More info

Grafton, Utah

In April 2018, me and a good friend of mine flew into Vegas. Over a 10 day period, we visited 6 national parks, drove 2800 miles and discovered many cemeteries along the way.

One of our stops was Zion National Park. We arrived during a rainy spell and for the next hour, bared witness to the rarely seen waterfalls in the park. Since the day was cold and dreary, we decided to explore the area.

It was in Rockville, where we spied a tiny sign with an arrow that said “Grafton”… Of course, our only option was to follow the signs, which lead us down a residential road and across an old bridge onto another barren dirt road.

As we made our way down the road, there were many postings warning of flash floods and be aware of the weather.

THE HISTORY LESSON: Located along the Virgin River, Grafton was a cotton growing community established in 1859. The area is prone to flooding which is documented by the numerous flash flood signs as you head to the townsite. Because of the difficulties with farming, Graphton also developed cattle ranching as a principal industry for the area.

This town has been abandoned twice. Once in 1866 and finally in 1945.

The cemetery was used between 1862 and 1924 and has an estimated 74 to 84 graves. Many with headstones are missing. The cemetery also includes the graves of southern piaute who were friends of the Grafton settlement.

In 1886 Diphtheria and scarlet fever were rampant in Grafton and took many lives.

Joseph Berry
Joseph Berry
Cedar Pete
Cedar Pete Paiute First Nation
Puss Paiute First Nation

2/15/1866 Loretta A. Russel and Elizabeth H. Woodbury died when their swing broke. This is discussed at the cemetery as well as at the townsite. They even have a broken swing at one of the houses. *unsettling*

Photo By: D. Cowles


Notable Facts:

The townsite is now protected and maintained by the Grafton Heritage partnership project.

Old Arizona was filmed here. This was the first talking outdoor movie ever filmed.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed here.