project Evergreen Cemetery

Contrary to it’s name, Evergreen Cemetery is no longer green. The 69-acres in the Eastside neighborhood of Boyle Heights is rundown. Where there is grass, it’s mostly parched brown. The rest is dirt.

Though it has not received the star treatment enjoyed by some of the other cemeteries in the city, Evergreen has a rich history rooted in the early days of Los Angeles.

Established in 1877, it is the city’s oldest existing nondenominational cemetery. Unlike many of its counterparts, it did not bar people based on race. Though it did segregate by ethnicity, with separate sections for African Americans, Mexicans, Japanese, Armenians and white settlers.

Today, Evergreen is the final resting place for the city’s homeless and unidentified. Each year some 1,500 people are cremated and buried in a single grave within its gates in what’s called a ‘Potter’s Field’.

There are also dozens of prominent LA figures buried on the Evergreen grounds, including Charlotta Bass (African-American civil rights activists and journalist), Biddy Mason (nurse, real estate entrepreneur and founder of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles), and members of the Hollenbeck, Lankershim, Bixby and Van Nuys families (white people who did some stuff and have their names on things).

 

If you are interested in Los Angeles history, add Evergreen Cemetery to your list!

If there is a particular person you’d like to find within its gates, go into the main building (on the left as you walk in) and ask for their grave number and a map.

Location: 204 N Evergreen Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30am – 4:30pm