The History of Fairmount Cemetery

Fairmount, like Greenwood and Riverside, is the final resting place for many of the community's early pioneers and city developers - people from the mining, lumbering, railroading, banking, city development, and governing arenas. But these prominent individuals are not the only Spokane figures buried here. So are the common laborers from those same professions, the indigent, and the unidentified. A walk through the grounds will reveal a span of history from Washington Territory days to present-day, as noted by the headstones of Territorial representatives, and State senators and governors. People such as Reverend and Mrs. Havermale, Senator Dill, Mr. and Mrs. Browne, D. C. Corbin, Patsy Clark, and one of President Lincoln's body guards, Frank Johnson to mention a few.

Fairmount Memorial Park is the community's second modern cemetery. Like Greenwood Memorial Terrace, it was established in May 1888. Its primary incorporators were E. J. Webster, President of the Ross Park Electric Street Railway; D. T. Ham, a land speculator and developer; and J. L. Wilson, a U. S. Congressman and Senator. Two significant transactions put the cemetery into business. The first was when Jesuit missionary, Joseph Cataldo, purchased Blocks 22-29 and Block 34 for $10,000 to be consecrated for Catholic burials. The second transaction took place when Spokane County granted forty acres to Fairmount for the purpose of a potter's field for the city and county, Block 90. In addition to the Catholic section, Fairmount also is home to the oldest designated Jewish burial ground in Eastern Washington, the right half of Block 20.

A note on consecrated burial grounds: certain religious affiliations, such as the Catholic Church, perform consecrating ceremonies by an ordained bishop, over the entire grounds where members of the church will be buried. Bishop Quevil said in 1267, that "all churches and cemeteries must be guarded from all defilement." And Bishop Edyndon said in 1348, "that the Catholic Church believes in the resurrection of the body of the dead. Sanctified by the reception of the Sacraments, it is consequently not buried in pagan places, but in specifically consecrated cemeteries, or in churches, where with due reverence they are kept like the relics of the Saints, until the day of resurrection."

Early on Fairmount was often used as a municipal park, where views of the Spokane River Valley with its Bowl and Pitcher features could be enjoyed. In 1900, Fairmount bought a motorized jitney (taxi) with 3 bench seats to transport visitors from the end of the electric streetcar line, at Monroe and Indiana, to the cemetery for picnics and strolls through the grounds. Even today, it is not uncommon to see people visit the cemetery to simply enjoy the views, walk or ride bicycles around the grounds with their families, or take their dogs for walks.

Video

Cemetery History & Highlights
Fairmount Memorial Park Spokane, WA Narrator: Julie Y. Russell Photo Credits: Julie Y. Russell, 2012 Fairmount Memorial Website
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