Forest Memorial Gardens – 5/31/15

forestmemorial5-31-15

The Forest Cemetery, now Forest Memorial Gardens, was established in 1857 by early pioneers. Several members of the Bigelow family are buried here. The cemetery was later referred to as the Chinese Cemetery — somewhat to the Bigelow family’s indignation — as it is the burial place for many Chinese immigrants. In addition, the cemetery is the only burial place for Thurston County Muslims, marked by mounds rather than stones; and several early unmarked African-American gravesites. As can be seen from this photograph from 1956, the cemetery fell into neglect in the early years of the 20th century. Early gravesites have now been restored as they have been rediscovered. Photograph selected and captioned by Deborah Ross on behalf of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum. For more information, visit us at olympiahistory.org. Vibert Jeffers, May 31, 1956. Susan Parish Collection Southwest Regional Archives

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