Western State Hospital is the largest psychiatric hospital west of the Mississippi and is located on Steilacoom Boulevard in Lakewood, WA. It was originally named Fort Steilacoom Asylum when it opened in 1871 at the site of an army post. More than 3,000 patients are buried at the Western State Hospital State Historic Cemetery though not all of them have grave markers with their name and dates on it. Some have a small, concrete numbered block as a marker, which was originally considered proper because of the stigma of mental health concerns. The cemetery, which is located on the grounds of Fort Steilacoom Park (formerly former the hospital farm), ceased having burials in 1953. The Grave Concerns Association is a volunteer organization dedicated to the restoration of the cemetery.
Benjamin Hooper was one of the earliest burials. Benjamin (1792-1891) was the first patient admitted to the Western Territories Asylum for the Insane on 8/19/1871.
And a shout out to Shelley, who had the brilliant idea to go visit and was bold enough to drive all over Western State Hospital grounds looking for the cemetery (that was on the other side of the road!). I can hardly wait until we go to the Western State Hospital Museum!