Lake View Cemetery is regarded as “Seattle's Pioneer Cemetery.” Situated atop Capitol Hill with sweeping views east towards Lake Washington, the cemetery was incorporated on October 16, 1872 as the Seattle Masonic Cemetery. Its name officially changed to Lake View in 1890. Even though the cemetery may be most broadly recognized for gravesites related to the “Borens, Dennys, Terrys and Bells, the nurturing and generous Dr. and Mrs. Maynard, the banker Dexter Horton and the New England refinement of Asa's ‘Mercer Girls,’” along with the gravesite of Princess Angeline, daughter of the city's namesake, Chief Sealth, its statement that “here we're reminded of Seattle's first families overcoming many adversities and their crucial pioneering efforts in urban development and renewal” applies to Seattle's Asian Pacific American communities as well. Although not segregated by race or ethnicity, distinct parts have congregated areas, especially of Chinese American and Japanese American graves.
Each year, an estimated 10,000 pilgrims make their way to Lake View Cemetery to pay homage to Bruce Lee and son Brandon, both buried here.
The family plot of Chinese American pioneer Goon Dip is located just south of the main gate.
The Nisei War Memorial Monument was dedicated in 1949. The 21-foot column of rainbow granite is carved with the names of 56 Japanese American soldiers from Seattle and surrounding areas who gave their lives during World War II. The inscription from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who issued Executive Order 9066 that resulted in the forced incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II, reads: Americanism is a matter of the mind and heart; Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry.
The cars come every hour, every day to weave their way up to the side-by-side gravesites of Bruce (d. July 20, 1973) and son Brandon (d. March 31, 1993) Lee, located atop a slight hill near the center of the cemetery. Spanning out from there are several significant areas to visit. Just south of the entry gate, notice the family plots for Goon Dip (Chinese labor contractor, owner of the Milwaukee Hotel, and appointed by the Chinese government to be honorary consul for the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition) and Sanzo Murakami (Japanese business owner of the Higo 10 Cents Store, owner of the Jackson Building). The Garden Mausoleum in the southeast corner contains the grave for James Mar (second generation owner of the Yick Fung Company, funeral director for Butterworth-Arthur A. Wright Funeral Home serving the Chinese American community). See the long row of “red” stone headstones slightly to the northwest of the Mausoleum? Many Chinese American families come annually during Qingming Festival (typically in April) to pay tribute to their deceased ancestors, leaving behind flowers, incense and food offerings. As you continue north, still along the eastern part of the cemetery, visit the Nisei War Memorial Monument where annual Memorial Day services are held by Seattle's Nisei Veterans Committee.