Holy Cross Cemetery

  • By Laura Angotti
  • Posted 11/03/1998
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 971

Holy Cross Cemetery was the first Catholic cemetery in Seattle. It was located at the current (2014) site of Seattle Preparatory School on Capitol Hill (2400 11th Avenue E). Holy Cross received burials from 1885 until 1905, when it was ordered closed by the City. The remains of those buried there were moved to Calvary Cemetery in the city's Ravenna neighborhood, which had opened in 1889.

Unsuitable Ground

Father Emmanuel Demanez purchased the land for Holy Cross Cemetery on Seattle's Capitol Hill in 1884. The two and three-quarter acre cemetery was platted on July 31, 1885, and the first burials were made there later that year.

Unfortunately, the site chosen was not well-suited for use as a cemetery as the ground was extremely wet, and relatively few burials took place. In 1893 the land was ordered vacated, but that order later was rescinded. In 1905 the City of Seattle again ordered the cemetery vacated, and it was closed later that year. There were only approximately 100 people buried at Holy Cross, and their remains were removed to the Calvary Cemetery in the city's Ravenna neighborhood.

From Graves to Education

After the cemetery was closed, the property was purchased by the local Swedish Baptist Church, which opened Adelphia College on the site in 1905. When Adelphia was closed in 1919, a wealthy Seattle Catholic, T. C. McHugh, purchased the site and donated it to Seattle College (now Seattle University). It was used to house the Seattle College High School. In 1933, the name was changed to Seattle Preparatory School and has remained so since. 


"Our School and History," Seattle Preparatory School website accessed September 5, 2014 (http://www.seaprep.org/page.aspx?pid=315); Kent Hickey, email to HistoryLink.org, September 4, 2014, in possession of John Caldbick, Seattle, Washington; HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Calvary Cemetery (Seattle)" (by Laura Angotti with David Wilma), http://www.historylink.org/ (accessed September 5, 2014).
Note: This essay was substantially revised on September 5, 2014.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You