I first heard of Evergreen at the beginning of the year. It was listed in the LA Times as one of Angeleno’s top open spaces. After asking around both native and transplants, I found exactly 2 people who had ever of it, neither had visited. Yesterday, I finally went to the cemetery.
Located in Boyle Heights Evergreen Cemetery is Los Angeles’ oldest graveyard. There are over 300,000 people interred there, including the movers and shakers of the city’s past. You can find a list of famous Angelenos buried there on Wikipedia & Find a Grave. What’s fascinating is how segregated the park is. There is a Chinese section, a well-kept Japanese section, blacks were buried high on a hill in the corner of the park, and there’s large Armenian area too.
Yet still in another part of this Cemetery, you will find the Pacific Coast Showmen’s Association and the Women’s Auxiliary. This section was founded and dedicated by the Circus and Carnival troupe in 1922, for their members and spouses. (Evergreen Cemetery)
I decided to ignore the more famous inhabitants and photographed the tombstones that captivated me. There were some that clearly were tributes to one person, large family plots and the random tiny markers indicating a dead child. Some of the tombstones have eroded over time, to the point where it was it nearly impossible to read what was on there. Over the past 100 years, others have sunk into the ground or are leaning badly. Some of the markers told us that the person was a transplant to Los Angeles, others even detailed why. Striking to me were the ones that listed the person’s lifespan as 51 years, 7 months and 3 days.
It was interesting to see how different cultures borrowed from one another to honor their dead. For example, the Armenians had photos on their grave markers, yet much later you’ll see that the blacks and Japanese began to do so also. If you’re interested, you can view more photos in the Evergreen Cemetery Photo Set.