Lake View Cemetery
1554 15th Avenue E
Seattle, Washington 98112
Telephone: (206) 322-1582
Founded: October 16, 1872
Size: 40 acres
Number of interments: 17,000 or more
Open: 9 a.m. to dusk daily (4:15 in winter, 6 p.m. in spring, 8 p.m. in summer)
As opposed to Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery, which looks out onto Lake Erie, Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery looks down from Capitol Hill toward Lake Union, Portage Bay, and Lake Washington.
Established as Seattle’s Masonic Cemetery in 1872, the cemetery was renamed in 1890. It lies adjacent to Volunteer Park, which served as Washelli Cemetery until Leigh Hunt, editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, demanded that the bodies lying there be moved so that the area could be enjoyed by the living. Some of these people had already been moved once before, when the city took over an original pioneer graveyard to make Denny Park.
The Denny family plot
Among those buried in Lake View Cemetery is Princess Angeline, the eldest daughter of Chief Sealth who gave his name to Seattle. Angeline’s given name was Kikisoblu, but after her conversion to Christianity, she was given a new name because she was “too handsome a woman to carry a name like that.”
At the crest of the hill rest four generations of the Denny family. Arthur Armstrong Denny and his wife Mary Boren Denny are credited with founding Seattle. Also in Lake View are Washington’s first governor (Elisha P. Ferry), Seattle’s first mayor (John Leary), Seattle’s first banker (Dexter Horton), and Seattle’s first shopkeeper (Dr. David Swinson Maynard, who declared his first wife dead so he could marry his second. Things turned awkward when wife #1 moved in with them, claiming half of Maynard’s land).
In the northeast corner stands the Nisei War Memorial Monument, dedicated in 1949 to Japanese Americans who volunteered to fight in World War II as a way to escape internment camps like the one in Puyallup, Washington.
Some of Lake View’s most interesting monuments draw from a wide variety of ethnic traditions, from Japanese, to Chinese, to Native American. One of my favorites was this one:
Lake View’s most famous permanent resident is Bruce Lee, who died in 1973 at the young age of 32 from cerebral edema caused by a bad reaction to a headache tablet. Beside him lies is son Brandon, who perished 20 years later at the age of 28, after being shot with an improperly loaded gun on the set of the original The Crow movie.
Bruce and Brandon Lee
Bruce’s large red granite slab identifies him as the founder of Jeet Kune Do (the Way of the Intercepting Fist), but his fans adore him for his movies: Enter the Dragon, Fists of Fury, and for upstaging the Green Hornet when he played Kato in the 1960s TV series. San Francisco-born Bruce Lee opened martial arts studios in Oakland, California and in Los Angeles, where he taught Steve McQueen and James Coburn, both of whom served as his pallbearers.
Brandon Lee’s monument is even more striking. Made of polished black granite, it has a swooping protuberance as if a shrouded figure is stepping clear of the stone. It includes a long epitaph which says in part: “How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems so limitless.”
Flowers, coins, pebbles, and other tributes often surround both graves, which lie just beneath the crest of the hill facing the water.
Lake View Cemetery homepage
A History of the Capitol Hill neighborhood
More information about the removable of graves from the Washelli Cemetery
Famous gravesites in Seattle
More information about Princess Angeline
Haunted Lake View Cemetery‘s report on Princess Angeline
GPS coordinates from CemeteryRegistry.us
Other Seattle links on Cemetery Travel:
Cemetery of the Week #49: Greenwood Memorial Park
My visit to Greenwood Memorial Park to see Jimi Hendrix
My review of Cemeteries of Seattle (Images of America)