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.
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 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?
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.
May 2018 – On the road trip back from the Washington Olympus Rally we stopped in the little church cemetery of Skokomish Indian Assembly of God.
It was a pleasantly overcast day and Sunday church goers were singing inside the chapel. Evergreen tree scent was all around and it was just temperate enough for my hoodie.
It was a small, “one stoplight” town or area of and across from the Church and Cemetery was the local casino. It occurred to me that I had never seen a casino across from a church and cemetery before.
The inscriptions on the headstones and upright markers were neat. You could tell there had been tribal funding that helped make some of them possible.
My absolute favorite for the day had the quoted inscription, “Pull my finger!” at the top. This sentence was both one I never fathomed I’d see on an upright marker and one I had never wanted to read in hard print.
It did highlight one of humanity’s beautiful traits that I admire… the ability to find humor and laugh in hard or painful situations.
When making funeral arrangements with families the groups that still take moments to pepper conversation with loving jokes and laughter, even though the tears; are a delight to serve and assist through the deep personal life event they are under going.
Don’t ever be shy to ask for the quoted inscription on your headstone that will bring a smile to your friends and family when they stop by to share a moment.
Our friends met up on San Jaun Island in late September to celebrate birthdays. One of our stops, besides the search for foxes at American Camp, was Roche Harbor Cemetery and the McMillin Mausoleum.
Parking is on the edge of the Roche Harbor airport. The entrance has you wind your way on narrow paths through a small pioneer cemetery before coming to the gates of “Afterglow Vista”.
The McMillin family incorporated this name as their final resting place in relation to the beautiful summer sunsets in the harbor.John Stafford McMillin was born on October 28th 1855 in Indiana. He is a 32° Mason – Knight Templar – Noble of Mystic Shrine Sigma Chi – Methodist – Republican.
The tomb has a replica of the McMillians dining room table. The table is made of limestone to reflect the business the family ran in Roche Harbor along with fellow investors.
The 6 seats are actual crypts for the McMillin family ashes.The mausoleum was designed to have an intentional broken pillar that allows the sun light to shine during the vernal equinox (1st day of spring) which I assume is sybolic for “born again”.
The placement of the chairs was also symbolic and in June the sun shines specifically on the crypts of McMillin and his wife.Buried in the cemetery is over 27 employees and thier children from the Roche Harbor Lime and Cement Company.
One of my favorite duties at the funeral home is managing our participation in the local Everett Artwalk. I volunteer to assist interested newcomers in participating with the other businesses as well as organizing our artist and performers.
To date one of my favorite performers is Miss Hajera. In 2017 she participated in several Artwalks with henna body painting and gave her grand finale on winter solstice with a 🔥 fire dance in the parking lot.
Volunteer drummers began and set the stage as she read a blessing and began to spin balls of live hot flames. The weather was cool and the sun had set. It’s was a spectacular show; the kind that inspires you to try a new hobby you would have never imagined.
Waited all summer to get outside in this area up North with Ms. M! We camped at a deluxe cabin on the Puget Sound water front. No joke, haha!
The shuttle van driver thought we were the next guest speaker because this cabin had a dedicated bathroom with shower separate from the sleeping quarters yet, still attached to the cabin. We hiked, skipped rocks on the water annnnnd … Still made sure to visit a local cemetery on our homeward bound trek.
My favorite part? My favorite part was learning that cattails are eatable, at least some parts, getting a cabin right behind the gift shop, seeing the boathouse where they have historic and group activity events, oh!!! And the café – it’s so granola.
Some of the staff are retired soccer mom’s and some are 20s aged with dreadlocks. All of them were talking about soil related topics. Yes, I was dropping as I waited for Ms. M to arrive for breakfast. The smells I liked most were the wet tree moss, the salty beach front air, musty cabin and cafe fresh-herb aroma.
At the cemetery my impression was more of a floating quandary of questions. Wondering about the cemetery sextants and what their experiences on-site had been. I imagined the burials and ceremonies that had taken place since before I was even a thought in anyone’s mind. It was, as it is with these thoughts, awe inspiring and joy provoking.
At the cemetery my impression was more of a floating quandary of questions. Wondering about the cemetery sextants and what their experiences on-site had been.
I imagined the burials and ceremonies that had taken place since before I was even a thought in anyone’s mind. It was, as it is with these thoughts, awe inspiring and joy provoking.
As a Funeral Director I’ve grown accustomed to odd and entertaining reactions from people when asked simple conversation starters like, “So what do you do for work?”
One of the challenges we face is connecting with the living before they need mortuary help. It’s not a topic most around me easily enter. It’s not a topic that seems, “normal.”
In my world view it is normal. Not only is it normal, it’s part of my weekly work life. Coordinating the details and working as a liaison for the deceased and their Next-Of-Kin is the essence of my function.
When I was younger I definitely didn’t meet the customer’s expectation of what a Funeral Director looks like. Some customers still assume they will be meeting with a thin, tall, gaunt old man and seem a bit confused until introductions are complete. It all adds to the unique experience.
Connecting with the living can be a challenge in my industry. One way I’ve been bringing the gap in this arena is by hosting events at the Funeral Home.
With Paint Night I was able to take my background in visual arts and lead a class during a paint-and-sip social. The whole event took about 2 hours for the guests and everyone had so much fun, at a funeral home even.
Several of the guests were comfortable enough to venture into the topic of death and ask questions without a direct need for a Funeral Director. In this stress free zone a real connection can be made sans the sorrow.
Such a positive first exposure to this experience left me encouraged and happy to facilitate more Paint Night events. Public requests are welcomed.