Fort Steilacoom, WA cemetery and its grave stone dates

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
2,378
Likes
5,461
#1
Several weeks ago went to take a look at the building of our local Western State psychiatric Hospital. I know, it's pretty fitting right about now, right?

A little Wiki history first, "The facility was established in Washington Territory as Fort Steilacoom Asylum in 1871, predating statehood by almost 20 years, in former buildings of Fort Steilacoom, which was a U.S. Army post from 1849 to 1868. In 1875, the territorial government took control due to complaints about patient neglect, brutal abuse and poor living conditions."

So the timelines are:
  • 1792 - Captain George Vancouver landed at what would become Port Townsend in 1854
  • 1846 - Tumwater- first settlement in Washington State
  • 1849 - Fort Steilacoom
  • 1871 - Hospital
  • 1889 - Washington State
* * * *​

I wanted to see the building of the Hospital. The original buildings of the asylum were demolished in 1886 to make way for a larger structure. It was renamed Western Washington Hospital for the Insane and the main ward was completed in 1887. In each of the following decades numerous out-buildings were constructed. In 1915, it was renamed Western State Hospital and grew in various stages.

western-state-hospital.jpg western-state-hospital_1.jpg

The building was pretty interesting but nothing I have not seen before. The older portion of the complex has first level floor beneath the ground level. Some art as you can see above. Below is an interesting "Power Plant" building with knocked off shield.

western-state-hospital_2.jpg
There was really nothing to investigate about this building. It was old, and part of it was below the ground level. Eventually I wondered off across the street and to the Hospital Cemetery.

western-state-hospital_3.jpg

The place is old. It feels old. A few of the grave stones were vertical. Majority were of horizontal type laying on the ground. At the same time nothing out of the ordinary. There is some restoration going on on some of the gravestones but the majority were the original ones.

western-state-hospital_4.jpg western-state-hospital_5.jpg western-state-hospital_5_1.jpg western-state-hospital_8.jpg western-state-hospital_7.jpg
Note: But then, between the trees and under some pine needles I found these several grave stones. They did not have much on them. Only dates.

fort_steilacum_grave_stone_1.JPG fort_steilacum_grave_stone_2.JPG fort_steilacum_grave_stone_3.JPG fort_steilacum_grave_stone_4.JPG fort_steilacum_grave_stone_5.JPG

If I'm not mistaken the earliest one is like 1787-88. They were hard to read even standing next to them.

If those are the dates, they make no sense as far as historical time frames go. No people were supposed to be buried (under numerals like these) 60 years before any settlements took place.

So I'm thinking, may be those are not grave stones but rather some sort of cemetery roster numbers? It was just weird that they were spaced out the same way regular grave stones were. But then again, may be people were just buried under some numbers back then.

What do you think?
 
OP
OP
KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
2,378
Likes
5,461
#3
It’s just that these dates make no sense from the local history stand point.
 

whitewave

Well-known member
Messages
554
Likes
1,035
#4
There were enough crazy people running around Washington so soon after it was settled that an entire hospital was devoted to their care? Pioneers had that kind of resources to support an entire hospital (building of, staffing, maintenance, care and feeding patients) while they're trying to settle a new land?
 

humanoidlord

Well-known member
Messages
648
Likes
433
#6
there likely was something there before, they just conquered the town and built a hospital
so yes those are the real dates
 
Top