Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery

Posted on January 15, 2020

Many people refer to this cemetery as the GAR Cemetery. It has been around for well over one hundred years and has over five hundred people buried in it. This is a place where people are laid to rest that has fought for the country in the Civil War. It is an honored place to be, however, just be careful because you may be in for more than a simple visit to a cemetery.

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GAR

This stands for the Grand Army of the Republic. This was an organization of the Army. It was the Union Army veterans that formed this organization after the civil war had ended in 1865. They had formed this for the defense of soldiers- morally, politically, and socially. This membership had over 400,000 members. This group had a chapter in Seattle. It was in Seattle that they had land for a 2.3-acre cemetery. The cemetery can be found at the corner of E Howe and 12th Ave. This can also be found just north of what is known as Lake View Cemetery. This cemetery was dominated by David k and Huldah K. They had come to Seattle in 1868. They were a Jewish family and were one of the first to settle in the area. There are about 219 veterans and their families buried in that cemetery as well.

It was in 1923 that membership would decline. This declined from death and infirmity. The organization would transfer the title of the land to the city. This is the area that now controls parks and recreation.

It was in the latter parts of the nineteenth century that this organization would have a big influence politically. They would support the Republicans. It was in 1956 that this group or organization would no longer be together. The records from this group would be sent to the Library of Congress.

The Cemetery

You can find the cemetery on Capitol Hill in Seattle. As stated, it is just north of the Lake View Cemetery which can be found on the northern slope of the hill. This cemetery is a consortium of the five GAR posts.

  • Miller Post
  • Saxton Post
  • Cushing Post
  • Stevens Post
  • Green Lake

The cemetery was established in 1895 when the land was donated by Huldah Kaufman and David Kaufman. We talked about them above, they were one of the first Jewish families to settle in the area in 1896.

The posts would maintain this cemetery until 1922. The property would then be turned over to the city, however, the 526 graves that were there were not. They would hire people from the Lake View Cemetery to help maintain the 526 graves on the grounds.

The cemetery would soon decline because people were confused about who owned the land. Plus, in 1939 they could not secure the WPA project due to World War II. They would then use the grounds for military purposes.

In 1960, the city wanted to have the Veterans Administration takes care of the land. The city would try to transfer this to them so they didn’t have to do this. They would then try to move the graves to Fort Lawton. This is now known as Discovery Park. The Veterans Administration was all for this, however, they were not able to get the money because they did not own the cemetery. This meant that no graves would be moved. It was then that the land that surrounded all the graves would be owned by the city.

Then, in 1996, the city had proposed that this area could be a dog-run. People did not like this and a group called Friends of the GAR had formed. These group members are keeping the cemetery clean and up-to-date. They are even working to have headstones replaced. This group also ensures that the flag is lowered and raised daily. Today you can find just a small area next to the cemetery.

Haunted History

Because this cemetery has many people buried and they are from the Civil War, people believe that this area is haunted. I mean, the cemetery would open in 1895 and continue to be used until the 1940s. Because of this, people have reported seeing people who are not there. These are called apparitions. They claim that these apparitions are of soldiers that are buried there. They are supposedly walking on the graves. Other people have stated that you can hear the cries and wails of those who were injured during the war and eventually died. Most people claim that this is just residual haunting, not intelligent haunting. However, if you are like most people, you need to see it for yourself to believe it. That is why many psychics go here to communicate with those who have passed on. Plus, they like to determine that this is not just a legend and that the ghosts are real.

A group of paranormal investigators have visited the cemetery to prove or deny this theory of haunting. Is it legend or actually haunted? They were here to find out.

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Investigation

When walking into the cemetery, they were prepared for a legend rather than some haunting. The group went out with not a lot of equipment because they did not believe that the area was haunted. They had an audio recorder, Mel Meter, and an infrared camera. The goal of the group was to capture these soldier apparitions on camera with audio. Keep in mind that this cemetery is in a pretty busy residential space. This makes it difficult to do any EVP because there’s a lot of noise pollution. Plus, with rain and wind, it is almost impossible to use. Despite the bad weather, their Mel Meter had gotten some readings. These were very interesting readings. Plus, the temperature of the EVP sessions would increase by two degrees when they ran it by graves of unknown soldiers. Graves that were located near the flagpole would also increase their EMF meter by 1mG as well. These instances were the only ones that were reported. They did not experience anything personal and didn’t have any weird feelings. Plus, their equipment worked perfectly.

They are not sure if the area is truly haunted or if it is just legend. They are stating this because they had limited time in the area and the weather was not cooperating. They took pictures but didn’t find anything that wasn’t normal. While this trip yielded nothing, they are going to go back again on a good day to see what they may find.

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People’s Claims

Many people who have spent any amount of time here have reported some strange occurrences. They report that they can hear shouting and crying from soldiers who were injured and had passed away during the Civil War. Plus, they are also believing that soldiers who had died in World War II are not at ease either.

Whether or not you believe in paranormal activity or if you believe the area is haunted, you should check it out. There are a lot of noted people who are buried here and that have done a lot for our country. Plus, it is just a neat place to go to see all the old headstones. This is a piece of history that our country has and it is worth a visit. Then you can tell us if you experience anything or if anything out of the ordinary happens. Taking a visit for yourself will confirm or deny the fact that it is haunted.

Sources:

https://www.hauntedrooms.com/10-haunted-places-seattle-wa

https://www.ghostlyactivities.com/ghost-hunt-grand-army-of-the-republic-cemetery-in-seattle/

https://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/grand-army-of-the-republic-cemetery

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Army_of_the_Republic_Cemetery_(Seattle)

https://www.historylink.org/File/1508