Sunnyside up! Pioneer cemetery serves Washington’s oldest city

by John Fannin
COUPEVILLE – For nearly 150 years Sunnyside Cemetery has dotted the landscape near Coupeville, the first city formed in Washington state.
During a visit to Whidbey Island this summer we went to Sunnyside Cemetery looking to see if some of my wife’s ancestors were buried there.
Instead, we found a charming, quaint and not-at-all scary graveyard.
At least during the day.
But who knows what ghouls may lurk during the night hours of this Halloween season?
But I digress.
Sunnyside Cemetery gets its name because, according to tradition, the headstones – many of them elegant and Victorian - face the same direction overlooking the sunny farmland of Ebey’s Landing.
Now a national historic preserve, the landing takes its name from Isaac Ebey, Whidbey Island’s first homesteader, who in 1857 was beheaded by the Kake Indians.
A scouting project about 10 years ago helped restore the Isaac Ebey marker and those of his family at the cemetery, which are now set aside by a white picket fence.
For more on this cemetery and the slice of Washington pioneer life it offers visit

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