CEMETERIES ARE SPECIAL places in the fabric of a city. I always find a visit soothing for the soul.

Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park, the biggest and one of the oldest cemeteries in Seattle, straddles Aurora Avenue north of 110th Street. A rare green oasis amid the busy corridor, it provides a nature respite for people who live nearby. 

I struck up an impromptu conversation with James Thomas, who was taking photos of interesting graves with inscriptions written in various languages. “I come here every day,” he said, before pointing me to a path “with good feng shui” that eventually led us to the tomb of Duwamish Chief Cheshiahud and his wife, Lucy.

A conglomeration of cemeteries, Evergreen-Washelli includes many sections dedicated to different religious communities, fraternal organizations, and ethnic and civic groups. It’s also home to one of the largest veteran memorials in the country, shown here in my sketch.

The imposing bronze sculpture of a World War I “American Doughboy Bringing Home Victory” towers over a sloping hill — and it’s impossible not to be moved by the scene unfolding behind the tribute. As thousands of marble grave markers honoring war veterans catch the glow of the late afternoon sun, you quickly understand why this burial ground has been called “the Arlington of the West.”