Looking for Stories in Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery


I arrived at the Lake View Cemetery yesterday with a distinct plan. I would walk the entire cemetery and take spooky gothic photos. The weather obliged. Alas the cemetery did not. I walked a lot, and took a lot of photos, but ended up with a different story.

For those who don’t know, Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery is on a hill overlooking the downtown area. The other side has a view of Lake Washington, thus the name. Most people know it as the last resting place of Bruce Lee and his son Brandon, and the cemetery has become a bit fo a tourist attract for that. Kurt Cobain’s ashes are also scattered there, but the location is a tightly held secret.

Lake View Cemetery was opened in 1872 and there has been little planing since then. Graves are higgledy-piggledy. On one area they are sparse, but in others is appears like bodies were places in any area they fit. The headstones are unassuming. Most of the original ones are flush in the earth and more like stepping stones than sacred markers. There are photos of them in the gallery later in this post. The more traditional headstones were mostly blocks of stone. It wasn’t as decorative, or gothic as I was expecting. What I did find though were potential stories. I have questions from many graves, but from the searches I’ve done, it’s probably too hard to find the stories.

Mr McCurdy

It was interesting to see how plain the stones are. There were few decorations and few words. Most of the graves are from the turn of the century, so Mr McCurdy’s inscription was unusual. I’m also surprised by the size of his headstone.

The Babies

These were sad, but I should have expected more infants. It’s sad so few graves exist. The first one I noticed was for an un-named baby. No name, or date, just “Infant 1892”. I’m assuming Amanda is the mother, but weirdly there’s no father. So many family plots were based around the patriarch that this stood out.


Then this was this one. The child was a toddler, so I can see why they went to the expense. It’s sweet.


Where are the other sons?

I have questions for the Engel family. There are graves for both parents and only two of the five sons. What happened to the others? Didn’t the parents like them? Did they only have sons?

Mary Stetson

Mary Stetson is the biggest mystery of them all. I spent last night researching her family but it didn’t unearth much. Mary Stetson (possibly also known as May), was from Maine. She married, lawyer, Fred Rice Rowell in 1884, and they moved to Seattle four years later. Mary caught my attention because the Stetson name is scattered through the cemetery but it’s not a common name in Seattle history. There’s a Hattie interned in the Rowell family crypt. I understand Mary’s family traveling with her, but the Stetson women seem to have been given a high honor to be buried with the Rowells.

Funny Names and Quotes

These headstones made me aww and giggle.

Lake View Cemetery


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More about Bianca

Bianca's a nerdy, book worm who is constantly curious and appreciates being alive while the internet exists. During the day, she's a content writer for a tech company. The rest of the time she's reading, and running, and bike riding, and sipping coffee, and taking photos around Melbourne, Australia.

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