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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

October 28, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Día de los Lake View

Sketched Oct. 25
Día de los Muertos, which is coming up Nov. 2, always triggers childhood memories of visiting the cemetery with my mom. As is customary in Spain, we would bring fresh flowers to my grandpa’s niche and pay respect with a moment of silence.
Though I am thousands of miles away now, I decided to observe the day, if only a bit earlier, with a visit to the city’s oldest cemetery, Lake View, on Capitol Hill.
Cemetery manager George Nemeth said more than 40,000 people have been buried here since 1872, and they bury an average of 120 more every year. Imagine how many people have a special connection with this hilltop and its magnificent views east and west.
People also visit for the history lesson, as many of Seattle’s pioneers are buried here. Of all the famous graves to sketch, I was drawn to Princess Angeline’s simple granite rock. The daughter of Chief Seattle, I learned, requested to be buried next to her good friend, Henry Yesler.
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Here are other drawings from my visit:
The cemetery offers great views of the city and beyond. After the morning clouds lifted, I sketched this vista that includes the 520 bridge spanning Lake Washington. On clear days, Nemeth said you can even see Mount Baker to the north.
Cemetery grounds manager Kevin Healy said on weekends people come in all day long to take a photo of Bruce Lee’s grave or leave flowers. The globally known martial arts figure and movie star is buried next to his son, Brandon. I didn’t know they both passed away at a very young age. Lee was just 32 when he died of a brain aneurysm and Brandon was 28 when he was accidentally killed on a movie set in North Carolina, according to their Wikipedia entries (Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee.)
yoshi-m.jpgTheir graves were the only ones where I saw fresh flowers at the cemetery. Some coins also lay over a book-shaped stone inscribed with a yin yang symbol and these words: “Your inspiration continues to guide us towards our personal liberation.”
As I was finishing my sketch, Yoshihiro Deguchi (right), a visitor from Tokyo, stopped by to pay his respects to the Lees. Deguchi, 26, said he and his father have been big fans of Lee for years but didn’t know he was buried in Seattle. He found out just three weeks ago while reading a travel book in preparation for his first trip to the United States.
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!

Comments | Topics: Capitol Hill


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