The cemetery was used from 1877 to 1944, when it hit capacity. It sits on land that once housed what was known as the county poor farm, for people who depended on the county for support, as well as a hospital called the Pest House (for pestilence), for people with infectious diseases like measles, cholera and tuberculosis.
When patients died, they were buried in the Chanate Cemetery, as were people whose families couldn't afford other burial sites, or who had no family.
It was the only graveyard where Chinese, because they often weren't Christian and were considered pagans, were allowed to be buried. The cemetery, with at least 1,561 graves, holds about 100 Chinese.