A good addition to the Images of America graveyard books. As is typical, the text is circular and no doubt leaves much out, but if it inspires a true guide (with color pictures!) to Seattle’s lovely Lake View Cemetery, then it will have done its job.
It did guide my own visits to the graves of Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee, despite the typo in the listing of Hendrix’s final resting place. Lucky for me, there is no Evergreen Cemetery in Renton, Washington.
The author did a good job with the Seattle pioneers buried in Lake View, including both photos of the people and of their tombstones. Some cemetery books actually forget to show you what you’re looking for.
Lake View Cemetery
1554 15th Avenue E
Seattle, Washington 98112
Telephone: (206) 322-1582
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The earliest postcards weren’t actually postcards at all. They were trade cards, designed to be collected as souvenirs for the pictures on their faces. Their reverses were filled with advertising text. Cleverly designed, they were advertisements that people chose to keep around.
This card on the left is an advertisement for Eldorado Engine Oil, “the best oil made.” On its face is a reproduction of an etching of the monument to James A. Garfield, America’s assassinated president, who was laid to rest in Cleveland, Ohio’s Lake View Cemetery.
The Garfield Monument, November 2011
The etching puzzles me. The monument resembles the Garfield Monument, in that it has a similar square Romanesque base and a conical tower. However, the tower as built wasn’t nearly as tall. I don’t know if this artwork was based upon the original architect’s plan (which wasn’t entirely executed for some reason) or if this is an artist’s rendering from imagination, description, or another source. It’s clearly not from life. Even the stairways and terrace are different — though eerily similar.
A little poking around reveals that the tomb wasn’t completed until 1890. My tentative dating on the card is 1884, based on the text on the card’s back, which reads in part:
Clark, Clark Co., Dakota
July 1, 1884
Gentlemen: — We have fully tested Eldorado Engine Oil during the past year on all kinds of Farm Machinery and on our Threshing Machines….
Very respectfully yours,
So the card can’t be earlier than 1881, when Garfield died, and is probably no later than 1890, when the President was entombed. 1884 seems as likely a date for it as any.
This card was never intended to be sent through the mail, though. (In fact, the penny postcard stamp was not put into use until 1898). This card is printed on very thin card stock or very sturdy paper. It survives because it was pasted into an album. The advertising side of the card is still slightly rough with remnants of the adhesive.
It’s the oldest card in my collection. So far, anyway.
Morton’s book does a great job of introducing an unfamiliar visitor to the cemetery. She introduces the important permanent residents with an appropriate amount of information, then focuses on the lovely and unusual statuary in the cemetery’s permanent collection. She includes Cleveland-area history, illustrated with just the right number of vintage photographs. She discusses the varieties of nationalities-of-birth represented in Lake View.
My chief issue with this cemetery guide is the cover photo, which — while hinting at the diversity of monuments within Lake View Cemetery — gives no indication how beautiful the place is. Even in mid-November, with most of the leaves already drifted to the grass, Lake View is a gem of garden cemetery design.
I found this book in the shop at the Cleveland Clinic, which turns out to be just down the road from Lake View Cemetery. Morton’s guidebook encouraged me to visit Lake View for myself. I am so glad I did. The restful beauty was exactly the respite I needed from my hospital vigil.
Lake View Cemetery
12316 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-2415
Email: email@example.com Established: 1869 Size: 285 acres Number of interments: Over 105,000 Open: Daily from 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. The Garfield Monument and Wade Chapel are open daily between April 1 and mid-November from 9 a.m. until 4.
Cleveland, Ohio’s Lake View Cemetery is a large, lovely rural garden cemetery that climbs a ridge east of town and provides spectacular views of Lake Erie and the metropolis stretching westward below. The cemetery also performs as an arboretum, in which many of the trees labeled.
Beneath the stately old trees, much of the cemetery is full of heavy granite markers, but among them stand some marvelous works of art, including the warrior archangel Michael, guarding the grave of John M. Hay, Secretary of State under President William McKinley. Two grieving women, reminiscent of the Duke of Burgundy’s Mourners, attend the sarcophagus of the E. M. Peck family. More modern figures climb the heavy granite monument to the Evans family, re-purposed from the family’s swimming pool.
Lake View Mourner
Just inside the Euclid Gate stands the poignant monument to the 175 victims of the Collinwood School fire, in which an angel protects children with her arms. The unexplained fire struck the relatively new building in March 1908. Teachers managed to save half their charges, but some children panicked and fell, blocking the stairwell so that others couldn’t escape. The tragedy brought national attention to the issue of school safety for the first time.
Another of Lake View’s treasures is the Wade Chapel. The classical building is named for Jeptha H. Wade, who served as one of the cemetery’s first presidents. His namesake grandson hired Louis Comfort Tiffany and gave him carte blanche to design the chapel, which is unusual amongst cemetery buildings because it does not contain any permanent remains. Tiffany designed the breathtaking Resurrection window, which functions as the room’s focal point, in addition to the Biblical murals lining the walls. Because Tiffany refused to have soot besmirch his artwork, his friend Thomas Edison wired the chapel for electric lights, making it the first building with electricity in Cleveland.
The showpiece of Lake View Cemetery is the monument to assassinated President James A. Garfield. Garfield was born in a log cabin in Cuyahoga County. Although his father died when he was 2, he was elected to the Ohio Senate, a post he left to serve as a Major General in the Civil War. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, then the U.S. Senate, but received the Republican nomination for President before he took office. He served four months of his presidential term before a deranged fan shot him in the back. One of the bullets lodged in his spine. Garfield lingered for 80 days, before infection from his inept doctors’ unsterilized fingers finished him off.
Nine years after his death, the President was laid to rest inside this monument, which has been called the first true mausoleum in America, since it serves both as his tomb and a tribute to his memory. The structure combines Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine architecture in a tower, domed interior, and crypt. A statue of Garfield captures him as if he’s just stepped out of his chair, a roll of parchment clutched in his hand. Around the room, stained glass windows embody the 13 original colonies as secular maidens. A maiden representing Ohio joins them as a gilded mosaic.
Garfield’s coffin lies in the crypt, alongside his wife Lucretia. Their daughter Molly, who was 14 at the time of the assassination, and her husband Joseph Stanley-Brown, who served as Garfield’s private secretary, are inurned nearby.
November 18th is Garfield’s birthday; this past Saturday celebrated his 180th birthday. Wreaths were laid, flags presented, and both boy scouts and girl scouts toured the monument. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and was able to enjoy the celebration and explore the tomb before it closed for the winter.
Lake View Cemetery presents a full schedule of events, including moonlight nature walks, architectural walking tours, and much, much more. The calendar is online here. Check back for 2012 events.
Upcoming on December 3, 2011 is a tree-trimming at the grave of Rev. H. C. Schwann, who is credited with bringing the first candle-lit Christmas tree into a church in 1851. The tree-trimming will be followed in the afternoon by a program of holiday music and lights outside the Wade Chapel.
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