Fall City Cemetery Association recognized by state as 125-year-old group

The cemetery association convened in 1898 and incorporated with the state a year later

The Washington Secretary of State’s Office has formally recognized the Fall City Cemetery Association as a quasquicentennial organization. The rare achievement honors groups that have been active in the state for 125 years.

Cemetery association members appeared before secretary of state Ithamar Howell to formally incorporate on April 10, 1899. That’s what Secretary of State Steve Hobbs wrote in a letter to the group last month, recognizing its quasquicentennial status.

“Although your organization may have existed long before, it was in 1899 that they sought the protections that come with incorporating,” Hobbs wrote. “Because the roads outside Olympia were virtually impossible, incorporating a business was quite an adventure.”

Nearly 1,900 groups incorporated with the state in 1899, according to Hobbs’ letter. The cemetery association is one of 11 that exist today.

“The award came out of the blue,” said Cindy Parks, a member of the Fall City Historical Society. The cemetery’s 125-year existence is “pretty remarkable,” she said, emphasizing the cemetery has been run exclusively by the volunteer association since its founding.

According to the Fall City Historical Society, the cemetery association first convened in 1898 because “something had to be done about the number of informal burials.” In the 1870s, many early settlers were burying the dead on their own properties or on a knoll overlooking the town.

Land for the cemetery was purchased in 1902. Additional parcels were added over the years. In 1999, a northern part of the cemetery, where many Native Americans were buried, was deeded to the Snoqualmie Tribe.

Today the cemetery is a resting place for many of the town’s earlier settlers as well as veterans dating back to the Civil War.

Members of the Fall City Historical Society are in the process of a restoring many of the cemetery’s headstones. For the past two years, members have been cleaning the headstones of veterans buried at the cemetery, Parks said. Cleaning each headstone is an expensive process, requiring D2 Biological Solution that costs about $55 per gallon.

The project began with the cleaning of the headstones of 20 Civil War veterans last year. This year, they completed all World War I veterans.

Next spring, they will start on the World War II veterans’ headstones, Parks said. They hope to have the work done in time for next year’s Memorial Day ceremony, an annual event put on by the local American Legion and Boy Scouts.