The American Legion will host a Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony at the Mt. Baker Cemetery, located at 767 Mt. Baker Road, starting at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 27. Everyone in the community is invited. Arriving early is recommended. The program, led by the American Legion, will include a Color Guard rifle salute, and will close with Taps. The ceremony rotates among the island cemeteries from year to year, and honors all who have served their country. Including Woodlawn, Mount Baker and Olga cemeteries, more than 220 veterans’ graves will be marked with flags.
The legion will also have a Memorial Day display open to the public on Sunday, May 26 during the pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon and from noon to 4 p.m. on May 27. The display features an abundance of Orcas Island veterans’ history.
Mount Baker Cemetery is located at 767 Mount Baker Road, immediately west of the tennis courts at Buck Park. Mount Baker Cemetery, originally named “Orcas Island Cemetery,” was also established in 1890, as a nonprofit association. Mount Baker Cemetery maintained itself as a private cemetery until 2009, when it was received into the San Juan County Cemetery District No. 3. Mount Baker Cemetery has 38 veterans, including soldiers from the Civil War.
Woodlawn Cemetery, located at 552 West Beach Road, is also part of the district. The cemetery was established in 1890 through land purchased by the Methodist Episcopal Church. The original name was the “M.E. Cemetery,” and, in 1908, the name “Woodlawn” was adopted. In 1929, the M.E. Church transfered the cemetery property to a separate board of trustees, with direction to form a cemetery association. In due course, the “Woodlawn Cemetery Association of Orcas Island” was formed as a nonprofit corporation in 1942 and administered the cemetery until 1985, when the taxpayers of Orcas Island formed a tax district to assume stewardship. Woodlawn Cemetery has well over 100 veterans.
Olga Cemetery, located on Olga Cemetery Road, is a private cemetery serving the residents of the east side of Orcas. Olga Cemetery has over 50 veterans.
Cemetery District meetings are held at the Orcas Library, on the first Wednesday of every month (except holidays). The public is always welcome.
For more information about either of the cemeteries or the district, contact the cemetery clerk at 360-472-1573, or see www.orcascemetery.org.