Sunnyside Cemetery, a pioneer burying ground, is located on central Whidbey Island, near Coupeville, Washington. Its establishment began with the first burial, Winfield Ebey in 1865. In 1869, his sister, Mary Ebey Bozarth sold the one and a quarter acre where he was buried to the county for $1.00. While there are older grave markers there, such as Rebecca Ebey, 1853, they were actually exhumed and transferred to Sunnyside. Since that time, there have been six parcels of acreage added to Sunnyside, keeping pace with Whidbey Island's expanding population.
Sunnyside cemetery is one of the most beautiful areas in the Pacific Northwest. The pioneer Alanson Warner Arnold, the great-grandfather of past Cemetery Commissioner Valerie Arnold said:
"It was in the early 1860s I chanced to stand on the elevated prairie, near where the graveyard on Ebey's Prairie is now, that my idol was broken. It was the first time in all my travels that I had seen so complete a picture as was here presented. Looking south was a valley of some two thousand acres with now and then a farmhouse near the willow groves that dotted the prairie, and all bordered with evergreen forests. On the east was the water of Saratoga Passage backed by the Cascade Mountains. On the west the straits of Admiralty and the Olympics, while to the south, towering above them all, stood giant Rainier looking down on this garden spot of Puget Sound."
Many people visit our cemetery to mourn or simply feel closer to their loved ones, but others come for the peaceful solitude, beauty and history. The Davis block house, built in 1855, reminds people of the Indian wars and the monuments, with all of their symbolism, tell their own stories. The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars place flags and have a Memorial Day ceremony, and the Island County Historical Society sponsors a number of walking tours during the summer.
Today, the cemetery is well maintained by dedicated caretakers, volunteers and an elected Board of Commissioners. Resolutions are in place to protect the old part of the cemetery to maintain its history and integrity as a pioneer burying ground.
It is the mission of the Cemetery District No. 2 Board of Commissioners and the members of our team who make up our dedicated staff, to endeavor to provide the most efficient and effective maintenance and preservation of historic Sunnyside Cemetery. It is our goal to accomplish this mission while taking great pains to preserve the historic integrity of the cemetery, to honor its deceased while giving careful attention to our fiscal responsibility to the residents and members of our community who have charged us with this task. To this end, we are pleased to be given the opportunity to perform these duties with the utmost respect and affection for this heritage and those who are buried here, and to provide a place of quiet beauty and serenity that beckons to the living.