Walla Walla, Walla Walla County, Washington 99362
The first Catholic cemetery was established in Walla Walla near the corner of 6th and Alder in 1859. Because of overcrowding there, a plot of land known as the McCool Cemetery was dedicated by Rev. Father Mans in 1867, and acquired from Robert McCool in 1869, measuring 450′ x 152’. After overcrowding there as well, in October 1891 ten acres of land were purchased for a new Catholic Cemetery adjoining the city’s current Mountain View municipal cemetery on South Second Avenue, and the Church requested that the families of those buried in the McCool Cemetery move all remains to the new cemetery.
On October 31, 1969, stating that all burials at McCool had been removed to the new cemetery, the Catholic Bishop of Spokane sold the McCool Cemetery ground to developers. Official records, however, show that fewer than half of the several hundred Catholic burials at McCool have been reinterred at Mountain View or other area cemeteries.
In the 1970s, during construction of the Pine Crest Village development including a new access street called Village Way, a portion of which was on the cemetery land, human remains were encountered in the street and on adjoining residential lots. From 2002-05, required investigations by professional archaeologists documented the presence of additional burials both inside and outside the boundaries of the originally deeded cemetery. Under Washington law (Chapter 68.60 RCW, and Section 68.60.40), once five or more sets of human remains are discovered on a property even though not a deeded cemetery, all of the property within 10 feet of any burial is considered a dedicated cemetery and is legally protected from disturbance. As required, the boundaries of the originally deeded cemetery have therefore been expanded to incorporate the area where additional burials have been found, and all of the site is now protected by Washington’s Historic Cemeteries and Graves Act unless all remaining graves are removed pursuant to a court proceeding under RCW 68.24.090.
Partial church records show 159 persons buried at McCool during the period October 1869 to July 1872, and from January 1884 to October 1891 who are not listed as reinterred at the Mountain View Cemetery. Burial records from the years 1872-1883 were not available and are not included. The whereabouts of the gravestones removed from the cemetery prior to its sale by the Catholic Diocese of Spokane is unknown.
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