Western State Hospital Memorial Cemetery

Lakewood, Pierce, Washington, United States

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1075
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Number of Images

1075

Number of Headstone Records

1365

Number of Supporting Records

48

Description

Cemetery is located in Fort Steilacom Park across the street (Steilacoom Boulevard) from Western State Hospital (Psychiatric). Description from Find-A-Grave: Cemetery notes and/or description: Originally the site was a US Army post called Ft Steilacoom constructed in 1849. In 1868, the Army decommissioned the post and Washington State repurposed the facility as a mental hospital. The Western State Hospital Cemetery is a separate cemetery from the original post cemetery, Fort Steilacoom Cemetery. In 1871 an insane asylum opened there with the barracks serving as patient and staff housing. The former Fort Steilacoom is now the mental hospital called Western State Hospital. Hospital residents grew crops and orchards in the area and planted many of the Poplar trees that currently line the Waughop Lake shore. More than 3,000 hospital residents are buried in the Fort Steilacoom or Western State Hospital Cemeteries. As was with many hospital burials of the day, graves were either unmarked in marked rows or, like in this cemetery, only marked with a small concrete numbered block. At the entrace to the cemetery is a large sign noting that 3,218 individuals are buried in the cemetery. A program of restoration is underway. One hundred seventy-two graves are currently marked and have been photographed and the memorials noted. One large marker states that 536 individuals have been laid to rest between 1939 and 1952 and lists all their names. The cemetery was closed to burials in 1953 and those dying while at the Western State Hospital have been laid to rest in other local cemeteries. (text by Roger Vartabedian)
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Western State Hospital Memorial Cemetery, Created by David Dodd, Lakewood, Pierce, Washington, United States