Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide

Washington (State)

Washington State like all the US Pacific Coast has little Lithuanian heritage as there have been almost no old Lithuanian communities.

One exception is the Roslyn Lithuanian cemetery. Being the only Lithuanian cemetery west of Mississippi it became a kind of pilgrimage site for some Lithuanian immigrants there. Celebrations of Vėlinės (the traditional Lithuanian day of the dead) are commonly held there, symbolically memorizing the graves of loved-ones left back in Lithuania. They are attended by the fairly recent Lithuanian community of Seattle as well as the Lithuanians of Oregon.

Currently, Roslyn has just 800 inhabitants but back in 1910, it has been a major mining center attracting numerous immigrants. Instead of establishing cemeteries solely along the religious/parochial lines (as have been common) 20 small cemeteries have been erected in Roslyn. Some of them are dedicated to different ethnicities: in addition to the Lithuanian cemetery there are also Polish, Croatian, Serbian, Slovak cemeteries. In 2010 a small memorial has been constructed at the Lithuanian cemetery for 16 000 USD.

In the Seattle itself the Lithuanian community, lacking their own building, meets at the Latvian House as Latvians are a "brother nation".

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  1. In June of 2009, the Portland Oregon Lithuanian Community dedicated a memorial at the Lithuanian cemetery in Roslyn, Wa. On the memorial, names on the grave stones were changed from primarily Polish last names to the proper Lithuanian spelling. I attended the event with my wife because my grandfather, Jonas is buried in the Roslyn cemetery. His name on the grave stone is Jonas Charaposky. The name on the memorial was changed to Jonas Cerapauskas. I have photos of the grave stone and the memorial that I would be willing to share if an e-mail address can be provided as I am not on Facebook or other social media sites. John


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